Editor’s Note: The Gazette first wrote about the literacy program at the library in the winter of 2009.
There is an invisible population living among us. They work all around us and yet we rarely see or speak with them. Ulster Literacy Association tutors Kathe Nack and Linda Hart have been teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to the local farm workers, our invisible neighbors, at a weekly class in the Gardiner Library for the past three years.
Every Wednesday evening, rain, shine or wint’ry mix, they come to practice their English, and their dedication and determination is truly inspirational. Some of the workers go back to their home country for a few months each year while many are here year round, but all benefit from learning English. Whether it is being able to speak to bosses, doctors or their child’s teacher, speaking English diminishes the isolation of being a stranger in a strange land.
One of the biggest obstacles to attendance is transportation to the Library so, for the last year, the tutors have been taking ESL classes to the farms. They offer classes during thirty minute lunch hours, or when work is finished for the day and make learning English more attainable.
There are many people waiting for a tutor and Ulster Literacy is ramping up the Farm Worker Program. You can take part; on Saturday, March 5th, the Gardiner Library is beginning a Tutor Training Program. It is not just the learners who benefit. All the tutors agree that they learn every bit as much as they teach.
So, want to change a life? It may change your life as well. Contact Casandra Beam (845) 331-6837 or Casandra@UlsterLiteracy.org).