I wanted to volunteer to work within the Spanish-speaking community in Providence. I saw an ad for free ESL classes through the Library and that helped me find my way into the Citizenship class.
I’ve become a lot more comfortable with speaking Spanish and helping students practice English. In the Citizenship class, I have learned so much about the naturalization process and about the lengths people will go to become U.S. citizens. I have also had the opportunity to lead lessons on my own and to gain teaching experience.
While the students in the Citizenship class at PPL come to learn and to be taught, as a class volunteer, I truly feel that the students teach me something new every week. I’ve learned a great deal about the immigrant experience and the various countries from which our students come; and I’ve seen resilience and strength in action, as students start out in the class with little English and knowledge of U.S. history and leave the class as citizens more American than I will ever be! The teacher of the class, Katherine Dantis, is one of the most selfless, patient, and kind people I have ever met. She has a great impact on the success of the students in the class. She has been a great friend and mentor to me and I attribute much of my wonderful experience with PPL to her.
I volunteered at PPL during the last two years of my time as an undergraduate student at Providence College, majoring in music performance and Spanish and minoring in Latin American studies. I recently graduated, and will spend the next academic year as an English Teaching Assistant in Mexico as part of the U.S. Student Fulbright Program. Katherine wrote one of the recommendation letters that helped me win the award, and the Citizenship class awakened my interest in English-Spanish education.
I would also like to thank Gregory at PPL for giving me great advice as I was waiting for Fulbright to get back to me. I have always felt supported at PPL!