Monday, May 9, 2011

Immigrants Mentoring Students and Vice Versa: The Mutuality of Service

Today as part of the final exam in the Spanish for Service Professionals class, the students will be interviewing a panel of recent immigrants about their experiences in becoming integrated into life in the United States. What are the local institutions and agencies that have been welcoming, and how? What challenges do newcomers to the US and to NW Indiana face? How can we be a community of welcome?
 I am grateful to the students, agencies and local Latino community for their commitment to this learning process, and am proud of what these groups have accomplished since January while working together as a team. The group of twelve committed students have translated dozens of pages of documents for the local public school system, have translated and edited Spanish-language forms for a health clinic, have started an ESL class, have served in two tutoring programs in the community, and have worked in other capacities to make the local community more welcoming to newcomers.  Each student has given between 30 and 60 hours of community service time over the course of the past four months.

Today's exam is an opportunity to reflect on the experiences of our service, and how working in collaboration with the local Latino community we can strengthen the fabric of our city while learning from one another.  I look forward to hearing students' ideas for ways they will carry this experience into their future professional endeavors.

No comments: