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We don’t always think about it, but language can be a safety issue. Whether you are visiting the doctor, buying groceries, using a bank or obtaining work, for anyone trying to gain independence, the ability to communicate in the local language is key. That’s why a caring committee of volunteers created a new ESL program for residents of Interval House.
Volunteer Kate, says being intimidated or confused by a second language creates barriers, particularly in terms of securing housing and employment. And volunteer Anne, another experienced ESL teacher, agrees. She recalls a time in her own life when she would have been grateful for a respectful and supportive environment like Interval House—a safe place to turn to escape domestic abuse. She says she has seen women become dependent on their husbands because domestic demands keep them from attending language classes regularly.
“In addition, the lessons are fun and foster a nice sense of community among women who are helping each other and working toward a common goal”, says ESL volunteer Tawni.
The revamped ESL program has been running at Interval House since January of this year, and so far the impact has been incredible. Pilgrim says, “We hope women can take what they learn and use it to make their everyday lives even a little bit easier.”