Would you recommend Chinese Information and Service Center?
CISC is a great organization. I have helped with mock interviews (helping prepare clients for their citizenship test) and taught one of the "Talk Time" classes for ESL. Teaching the class was especially rewarding -- the students were all committed to learning English and grateful for the assistance. I don't speak Chinese, but CISC made sure that bi-lingual volunteers were on hand each week to explain difficult concepts. CISC also helped me to find a free one-day training for teaching ESL. If the class is too much of a commmitment, the mock interviews are an easy way to lend a hand, and it is fun to see the new citizens when they come back to express thanks.
CISC is a great place to volunteer and gain experience. I volunteered over ths summer as a Talk Time teacher to a small group of Chinese adults. I had a fun time with the class, and gained experience in teaching conversational English. CISC provided the class material, and then I was able to creatively structure the class time. I also learned a lot from the students - they were very eager and had a lot of good quesitons. I would definitely recommend volunteering at CISC!
I volunteered in the English and naturalization programs; and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. Don't worry, you don't have to know Chinese. The goal is to help the students acquire the skills to function in everyday activities, and they know that. I mostly worked with elderly folk, and they were absolutely adorable. Their thirst for knowledge is inspiring, and I can only hope that I'll have it too when I am their age. The other staff members are a great support in your goals as well. I was studying law at the time, and Meon introduced me to the lawyer to see if I could extend my services. This experience changed my life.
I volunteered in the naturalization program for a few months and had a great experience. I was doing mock interviews, helping immigrants with limited English ability get the practice they needed for upcoming citizenship tests. The clients were fun to work with, and you could tell they really appreciated the help. And I can definitely vouch for CISC as a well-organized nonprofit doing great work in the community - I liked it enough to come back and work for them!
If you are considering being involved with CISC, I would strongly encourage you to go ahead and contact them today! My experience there has been entirely positive. I started out volunteering as a citizenship test mock interviewer a couple summers ago, and after some time out of Seattle, I have returned to teach. It was so nice to be remembered after two years. As other reviewers have said, CISC will place you no matter your language/teaching background, so don't be shy.
This is a very rewarding volunteer experience! Although some are younger, the typical student/citizenship candidate is middle-aged or older (some are elderly) and learned little or no English in school back in their student era. Consequently, many of them struggle with oral comprehension and conversation. However, without exception, they study very hard and know the subject matter materials very well. They just need to practice with native English speakers. It is very satisfying and enjoyable to "bring them along" in English, watch them gain competence and confidence, and see them return with big smiles (usually bearing treats of gratitude) to thank those who have helped them after they have successfully passed their citizenship interviews. It's also satisfying to help them learn something about what it really means to be a US citizen, which is of course very different from what most of them have ever experienced.
As they say, absolutely no experience in teaching is necessary. The only requirement is the ability to speak English and wanting to help out. Though it's great to have a second language as a tool to help you understand the students, it's not an absolute necessity.
The people are friendly and it's a great opportunity to socialize with other volunteers while still being able to contribute back to society.
The "feature" that makes this experience different from others is the fact that you can see your work change people's lives in a matter of weeks. In the short time I've volunteered as a citizenship mock interviewer, I've coached, assisted, and interviewed at least 50 people who went on to pass their citizenship interviews and get their citizenship. This creates a sense of real accomplishment that you may not get elsewhere.
I taught ESL to two groups of Chinese immigrants. It was a wonderful place to gain some valuable experience when I was starting out in my field, and I would love to volunteer there again if I move back to the area.
I have recommended CISC as a great place to volunteer in the past because it was truly one of the most inspiring experiences I've had. I was a small group citizenship and ESL tutor for 9 months. During this period, 9 of the students became citizens. It was a humbling experience to see the process that creates US citizens and a real privilege to work with people who were working towards a better life. The staff at CISC are also very friendly and helpful. (Meon Yu rocks!) I highly recommend CISC as a place to volunteer.
Volunteering here was such an inspiring, rewarding, and extremely fun experience. I loved the patrons, and thought the staff were so great at helping the community. If you study an Asian language, this is a great place to practice as a bonus, but don't feel like you need to speak anything other than English. Everyone can volunteer here and come away with valuable experience and skills.
I loved volunteering with CISC! I taught one of their citizenship classes for a summer while I was in graduate school. I helped a classroom full of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants (Mandarin speaking for the most part) to be ready for their citizenship interviews.
My students were great--they really wanted to learn and they had lots of questions (most of which I could answer). Even though I was much younger than my students (I was 24 at the time), I was treated with respect from both students and staff.
Even after my time teaching (I stopped volunteering because I moved out of the country), I kept in contact with Meon and a few of my students.
I would definitely recommend volunteering with CISC. The only thing that I want to mention is scheduling--the classes they hold are during normal office hours, so people with traditional hours might find it tough.
If you want to volunteer and have the language capability, then CISC is the place to do it. It is a very well organized and well like organization. They have lots of programs that you will be able to find something you enjoy while helping others. It is time to help and feel good about yourself.