New English language program to launch in the fall!
We invest in education because we believe, and the research shows, that it is the best tool we can give a young person to help them break the cycle of poverty they come from. While enabling local kids to go to school and succeed academically is an important part of our program, we know that there are many other tools and skills our students can acquire that will help them be self-sufficient later in life – and one of these is English language proficiency. After several years of dreaming about this, I am excited to share that we are finally ready to offer English language instruction for our students!
Why English language?
The strong economic partnership between the US and Mexico provides the opportunity for Mexicans who learn English to advance economically – and this is especially true in areas where tourism is strong. For those of us who have spent any time in Rocky Point, it is not difficult to see how many more employment opportunities there are for locals who can speak English – and most of those jobs are higher paying than those filled by those who are not bilingual. Imagine the difference in wages between someone who cleans rooms in one of the resorts and someone who can wait tables or work in customer service because they are proficient in English.
Although, in Mexico, English proficiency has long been seen as a route to upward economic mobility, unfortunately most young people do not have access to English language instruction. While English is offered in the public schools in Rocky Point, this instruction is typically very limited and usually focuses primarily on simple vocabulary and phrases. This is often due to a shortage of teachers who have sufficient proficiency in English to teach more complex, advanced English. So, the unfortunate reality is that the small percentage of local young people who learn to speak and understand English proficiently come from families that can afford to send them to private, bilingual schools.
We are finally preparing to offer English language instruction thanks to a wonderful young woman from Utah named Carly Harris. Carly grew up vacationing in Rocky Point and I met her just before the pandemic hit. She learned about our program through a family friend while visiting last January and we met to discuss how she might get involved. When I explained to Carly that one of our dreams was to offer English language instruction to our students her eyes lit up. It turns out that her degree is in English as a Second Language and she taught ESL on a mission trip a few years prior. Although the pandemic kept us from moving forward determining how/if she might become involved, we remained in touch. Fortunately for us, two months ago she took a leap of faith and moved to Rocky Point to help us develop an English language program.
How you can get involved
While we are planning on launching a formal English language program next fall, Carly has begun hosting ‘Fun Fridays’ for students who attend our homework clubs. She will be introducing English to the students using fun and engaging activities. She would love to have volunteers who speak English to help with these Friday activities. If you are interested contact Carly using the information on the flyer. If you are not able to help in person but would like to support our English language program you can donate at stepsoflove.org/one-time-donation/ and write English Language Program in the comment box. MUCHAS GRACIAS!
Carly and the Executive Director of our program, Carolina Pacheco.