Would you recommend St. James Immigrant Assistance?
I have been volunteering for St. James for a year and a half and have been consistently impressed with the staff support I have received and their commitment to the mission of the organization. Instruction is driven by student goals which means that as a tutor I am able to plan lessons that are interesting and meaningful to the student and specific to his or her needs. The 6 month commitment means that you really get time to get to know your student well and you begin to develop a connection with them as you learn about their lives and hear their stories. I have volunteered for many organizations in the past and this has by far been the best experience because it is extremely rewarding to see the impact of your efforts when your student masters a certain concept or uses what you taught him or her in class out in their daily lives in the community. Great organization!
friendly and helpful staff; interesting and educational volunteer opportunity; great way to get to know people from other cultures, other parts of the world; creative, intellectual work; flexibile schedule and location; minimal reporting to agency; work independently but plenty of support;
Having the autonomy to create a lesson plan based on what the students wanted and needed to learn was exhiliarating.
I used the ESL resource library and different websites to plan and prepare lessons based on what the students wanted to learn. Mostly, that was being able to carry on conversations with co-workers and understand their work assignments.
One of their lessons included going over their daily activities, getting into groups of two and practicing a conversation that started with "What did you do today?".
The next week a student came to me and told me that every Monday morning the secretaries at work would say hello to him and ask him "What did you do this weekend?" He was never sure about the right way to answer, so he would just smile and walk away. But that Monday, when they asked "What did you do this weekend?" He said he remembered the lesson and he told them, "Ohhh...nothing. I watched the TV shows, I took the kids to the park."