English tutors make a difference with people of all tongues | NevadaAppeal.com

English tutors make a difference with people of all tongues

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Kathy Thompson, from left, Silvia Salvador, of Carson City, and her daughter Stephanie Barreto, 7, visit after the ESL awards ceremony at the Brewery Arts Center on Saturday.

By coincidence, Silvia Salvador and Kathleen Thompson share the same birthday. But they have more in common than that – they both want to improve Salvador’s English.

At a lunch Saturday at the Brewery Arts Center, the two were recognized for their efforts: Salvador for her progress in learning English and Thompson for tutoring the 37-year-old.

“I saw there was a problem,” said Salvador explaining how she met Thompson. “I said it’s time to learn English. I called Florence (the director of the English-as-a-Second-Language in-home program). She sent me to Kathy. I’m still learning.”

The two have worked together twice a week since May in Salvador’s home.

Salvador has received so much help from Thompson that the Ecuadoran native signed up to compete an online hotel management course.

“I have met so many wonderful people, like Silvia,” Thompson said. “It really fells so good to help people who want to help themselves. It’s very rewarding.”

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Thompson has worked with Salvador on improving her pronunciation, building her vocabulary and being confident in her conversation skills.

But Salvador is just one of five adults that Thompson works with. Volunteers, all of whom were recognized at Saturday’s lunch, are currently helping 67 students learn or improve their English.

Students are not just Hispanic. Some come from Tibet, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Netherlands. There are 56 adults on the waiting list.

“We need tutors,” said Florence Phillips, who started the nonprofit group 18 months ago. “We only teach twice a week one hour at a time.”

Anyone interested in helping can call Phillips at 888-2021. Training to be a tutor takes one to two hours.

Tutoring is done in the home of the student for several reasons: Many of them hold two jobs, are grandparents, don’t drive or are disabled.

Salvador said she liked the comfort of being in her own home and having her children nearby.

Also at the ceremony were students Maria Nunez and Rosaura Limon-Guiterrez and their tutor JoAnn Graff.

Students interested in being tutored must be over 18 years of age. The oldest student in the group is in her 80s.

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.