ESL students, tutors honored for their dedication |

ESL students, tutors honored for their dedication

Sandi Hoover

Learning English as a Second Language is vital to Cecilia Jimenez, who has just completed eight months of study.

“I learn pronunciation and grammar, and it’s very important to me to have my tutor,” Jimenez said Saturday.

“Before, I was scared whenever I talked, but now I’m more confident,” she said.

Jimenez, who became a U.S. citizen in 2002, was part of a Saturday event honoring students and tutors of the ESL In-Home Program of Northern Nevada. Executive Director Florence Phillips said there are 75 tutor volunteers and 130 students.

“Being bilingual (gives you) a definite advantage over those who are not,” Phillips said in a presentation address. “Some of you feel more self-confident and have found jobs, and 56 of you have become U.S. citizens. Some of you are students for U.S. citizenship and some of you are working for your GED,” Phillips said.

“You can communicate with your children’s teachers and with your doctors,” she said, “and some of you grandparents had goals of reading stories to your grandchildren, and now you are doing that.”

After the ceremony and pot luck luncheon, Phillips said more community volunteers are badly needed.

“I have 103 on a waiting list,” she said, “and we need tutors and donations for books.”

The ESL program is a no-cost program, and free workshops are provided to train tutors to help students learn to speak, read and write English. Tutors may donate their time for as little as one hour per week, she said.

“It’s the best thing a person can do to make a difference in their community. Our students come from all countries – they are not only Latinos, but also from India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea and European countries,” Phillips said.

For more information, call Phillips at 888-2021.