Volunteers are the heart and soul of Guadalupe School. Without the dedicated people who spend their spare time tutoring kids in reading, teaching adults English, building playgrounds, and making science fun in after school tutoring, we would not be able to make the impact on Salt Lake City’s west side that we have had for almost fifty years.
Our volunteers and volunteers of other organizations come for so many different reasons, so over the last few weeks we’ve asked you to finish this sentence: I volunteer because _________ and we were inspired by the responses we received!
I volunteer because “what's more fun than giving back to your community?” – NY Junior League
I volunteer because “I love to help others.” – Dora
I volunteer because “my life is enriched because of the people I meet.” – Linda
I volunteer because “it makes me feel happy.” – Joseph
I volunteer because “the interaction with the students is fun, and the students are so grateful.” – Rodd
I volunteer because “I am retired and now have time to do things I like to do. I believe education is very important and I can help people learn English.” – Arno
I volunteer because “it’s fun!” – Brian
I volunteer because “I want to share.” – Kun
I volunteer because “I enjoy helping such eager students.” – Adult Ed Volunteer
I volunteer because “I get bored/tired of staring into computer screens all day and want to connect with the community in a meaningful way.” – Adult Ed Volunteer
By Traci Grant, Adult Education Floor Manager and Outreach
Tutoring at Guadalupe is probably the easiest form of service you can do. Our volunteers are provided with lesson plans, materials, training, and support from our ESL specialists and staff. The most important part of your job is to show up. Really. That’s it.
Our evening classes where we use tutors are from 7 to 9 p.m. Tutors show up at about 6:45 to read through their lesson plan and check all of their teaching supplies. When you arrive, you’ll find a lesson plan and all your materials ready for you.
Our small group sizes make it easy for you to teach; there will only be three to five students in your group. The students in your group will speak English at the same proficiency, which means you will not have a more advanced student with one less advanced.
The very first part of your job is to welcome your students as they come in, ask how their day went, and create conversation in English. With the lesson plan already prepared, you only have to follow it. Lesson plans consist of an objective (the goal of the lesson), a Warm Up (usually framed as a review of the previous lesson), the Presentation and Practice (the main part of your lesson), and a Comprehension Check (making sure your students understand). There is also no pressure to finish the lesson. Your lesson plan is concurrent, which means that it builds upon itself. If you do not finish the lesson plan, the next lesson will start where you left off. After class, all you need to do is leave a note to your ESL Specialist explaining how the lesson went.
You do not need to know any language other than English. You do not need to prepare lessons. You do not need know anything about English grammar or sentence structure.
Many brand new tutors are worried about teaching grammar when they themselves do not know grammar. Don’t worry. Our mission is to give adult immigrants and refugees the skills they need to become members of their community and better provide for their family. It is not to teach past perfect participles and future progressive sentences. Most of the lesson plans are centered around life skills with more of a focus on conversation that our students will do in their everyday life. There are aspects of grammar, but it is not our focus.
With a curriculum based on conversation, you become friends with your students, you learn about their families, you learn about their jobs, and you learn about the struggles in their lives both here in the U.S. and in their native country. Our students take a break from 8 to 8:15 p.m. where they go down to our multipurpose room for coffee, tea, tamales, pupusas, or desserts (if we have them). As their tutor, we encourage you to go with them and talk. If you are learning your student’s language, this is a perfect time to have them teach you.
We do require a commitment of one night a week for at least three months; but don’t worry—you’ll want to stay longer. Come for the volunteering and stay for the students. Our students are dedicated, motivated, and determined to learn English. They are grateful for your service and sometimes express their thanks in home-cooked meals and goodies.
By Danielle Lankford, Guadalupe School Communication Specialist
As you may know, our Executive Director of ten years, Vicki Mori, has announced her retirement from Guadalupe School this year. However, so we can continue to utilize her vision and knowledge of our organization, she will take a place on the Board of Directors after her retirement.
At this time, we are proud to announce that Richard L. Pater has been selected as our next Executive Director. Mr. Pater says that although Vicki's shoes may be small, they will be a challenge to fill; but we have confidence that he will lead the way to many more years of success.
Here’s what you should know about our new Executive Director:
What is your educational background?
I earned a Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with a Business Minor and a Research Scholar designation from the Honor College at the University of Utah, and I earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the David Eccles School of Business, at the University of Utah.
Tell me about your management consulting career.
Management consultants are hired when a company has a problem that they lack the internal expertise to solve. They would hire me to prepare a strategic plan to address the problem and sometimes retain me to implement that plan.
Tell me about where you grew up.
I had a fantastic childhood. I was born in Utah and spent my winters here, but my family went to California for several months every summer. I got to spend winters in the snow and summers at the beach. What child wouldn’t have loved that? Salt Lake was always our primary home so I went to school and began my career here.
What do you think sets Guadalupe School apart?
I think there are a couple things. First, our staff is incredibly dedicated and talented and really focuses on the needs of our families, and second, the way we interact with our students allows us to not only meet learning needs, but also to create a nurturing environment where students see that there are many opportunities they can pursue through education.
What have you enjoyed about working here?
I think that we are really opening doors for so many of our families. When you walk down the halls or meet our students and parents, you recognize their potential in so many ways. Knowing that we are helping change lives and make a difference every day, makes being here so rewarding.
What would you like parents to know?
Although the building is new, our commitment hasn’t changed. This coming year will mark our 50th anniversary as an agency. We began with a focus on our families and now, some fifty years later that remains the focus today. We will continue fulfilling the vision that began all those years ago, and I am dedicated to the vision, mission and to the families we serve.
By Lilliana Cecena, former student, originally published 22 January 2015 by West View Media, permission has been obtained to reprint for our readers
Everyone has a story, and while mine is still being written, I have the chance to share some of it with you. I hope I can reach anyone who is in need of a few words of encouragement.
My mother moved my four siblings and me to Salt Lake City, Utah from San Diego, California on December 19, 1994. All we had were three suitcases of clothes. Our ages ranged from two to 16 years of age. My mother wanted to get away from the dangers that living in San Diego exposed us to. Thinking back, she had to have been the bravest person I know to love herself and her children so much that she would go to an unknown community in search for a better life.
Soon after arriving in Salt Lake City, I began attending the Guadalupe charter school. It was where I learned to speak English, where I met my first friends, and where I began to admire my first mentors.
As a single mother, my mom did her best to raise us the only way she knew how. At times she had three jobs and would work sixteen-hour days. She would only come home to make sure we were all there and to cook us a warm meal, then she would head back to work. There were times I would hardly see her, but when I did I felt an unexplainable excitement. Her presence alone made me feel safe and secure. I knew nothing would ever happen to me as long as she was around.
She instilled in us the foundation of hard work. In 1996, she bought us our first home on Montague Avenue (near 900 W. 900 S.) We all felt as though we were beginning to live the American Dream. We loved our community and became close to all of our neighbors. We still had to share bedrooms, but were thrilled with the idea of our own backyard and being able to play until dark.
As my oldest brother was serving his second tour of the Iraq War, my mother decided it was finally time to petition for her citizenship. On July 12, 2006 she went with him to the local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services building only to learn with shock that she would never again return to the home she bought, nor live with all of her children under one roof. She was handcuffed and deported within days.
I felt as though the very government I supported and learned to love had failed me. How could someone who has given 25-plus years to this country, who’s son is a veteran of the Iraq War, who’s children are law-abiding, contributing members of society, be kicked out like a dog in handcuffs? She had only wanted to find hope and opportunity for our family by coming here.
At this time our ages ranged from six to 26. We were now six siblings. Life as we knew it changed before our eyes and that feeling we once felt of reaching the American Dream was lost. I was sixteen years old and in my prime of adolescence, arguably the most important time to have your mother by your side.
I was confronted with a choice of whether or not to move to Mexico with my mom. I had to pray and listen to my heart. I decided Mexico was not an option for me, so I chose to stay under the care of my older siblings.
I found myself a full time job and focused my energy on academics. I was awarded an academic scholarship that allowed me to attend Judge Memorial high school. I took AP and honors classes, was the Vice President of the National Honors Society, served as a peer minister, and was a member of the Lacrosse team.
All the while I was searching for my identity away from my mother. I was afraid and entered a really strong depression. My only sense of security was taken from me and I didn’t understand how to deal with it. I hardly knew myself.
I continued pushing myself and after graduating from Judge Memorial, I began college at Westminster and then completed my bachelors at the University of Utah. I was able to obtain grants and scholarships that I am forever grateful for.
At a young age I learned the value of having a dream and having goals. I used the foundation of hard work that my mom taught me, the support of my family, the guidance of mentors in my community and my social networks. I actively keep a vision board of all the things I want to accomplish and I have faith that I will.
Henry Ford once said, “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” There are experiences we go through in life that we may feel like we don’t deserve, but everything is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Persiguiendo mi 'Sueño Americano'Traducción por José Bernardo Fanjúl
Todo el mundo tiene una historia, y mientras que la mía aún no ha terminado, tengo la oportunidad de compartir algunas experiencias con ustedes. Espero poder llegar a cualquier persona que está en la necesidad de unas palabras de aliento.
Mi mamá nos trajo a mí y a mis cuatro hermanos a Salt Lake City, desde San Diego, California, el 19 de diciembre de 1994. Todo lo queteníamos eran tres maletas de ropa. Nuestras edades variaban de 2 a 16 años de edad. Mi madre quería alejarnos de los peligros a los que se viven en las ciudades grandes como San Diego. Pensándolo bien, mi madre tiene que ser la persona más valiente que he conocido y amar a sus hijos tanto que decidió irse a un lugar totalmente desconocido en busca de una vida mejor para ella y para nosotros.
Poco después de llegar a Salt Lake City, empecé a asistir a la escuela charter Guadalupe. Allí fue donde aprendí a hablar inglés, donde conocí a mis primeros amigos, y donde empecé a admirar mis primerosmentores.
Como una madre soltera, mi mamá hizo todo lo posible para criarnos de la única manera que sabía hacerlo. A veces tenía tres trabajos donde pasaba hasta dieciséis horas al día. Sólo venía a casa para asegurarse de que todos estuviéramos allí y para cocinarnos una comida caliente; para después regresar de inmediato a su trabajo. Había ocasiones en que casi no la veía, pero cuando la veía sentía una emoción indescriptible. Su sola presencia me hacía sentir segura y protegida.
Yo sabía que nada me pasaría, siempre y cuando ella estuviera cerca. Mi madre nos inculcó las bases del trabajo duro. En 1996, ella compró nuestra primera casa en Montague Avenue (cerca de 900 W. 900 S.) Todos nos sentimos como si fuera el inicio de nuestro sueño americano. Nos encantó nuestra comunidad y nos allegamos a todos nuestros vecinos. Aun así, tuvimos que compartir dormitorios, pero estábamos encantados con la idea de nuestro propio patio trasero y poder jugar hasta el anochecer.
Como mi hermano mayor estaba cumpliendo su segunda gira en la guerrade Irak, mi madre decidió que había llegado el momento de solicitar suciudadanía. El 12 de julio del 2006 se fue con él al edificio de losServicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración, sólo para descubrir que nuncamás volvería a la casa que había comprado, ni vivir con sus hijos bajoel mismo techo. La esposaron y la deportaron en cuestión de días.Me sentí como si el mismo gobierno que apoyé y el cual aprendí a amarme había fallado. ¿Cómo podría alguien que ha dado más de 25 años aeste país, que es la madre de un veterano de la guerra, que enseñó asus hijos a ser respetuosos de la ley, una persona activa en lacomunidad, pueda ser echado como un perro del país? Ella sólo habíaquerido encontrar esperanza y oportunidades para nuestra familia alvenir a este país.
En este momento nuestras edades oscilaban entre 6 y 26 años. Somos seis hermanos. La vida tal como la conocíamos cambió ante nuestros ojos y ese sentimiento que una vez sentimos de haber logrado el sueño americano se esfumó. Tenía dieciséis años y estaba en mi mejor momento de la adolescencia; sin duda el momento más importante para contar con mi madre a mi lado.
Me encontré con la opción de sí o no pasar a México con mi mamá. Tuve que rezar y escuchar a mi corazón. Decidí que irme a México no era una opción para mí, así que elegí quedarme bajo el cuidado de mis hermanos mayores.
Encontré un trabajo de tiempo completo y concentré mis energías en mis estudios académicos. Me concedieron una beca académica que me permitió asistir la escuela secundaria Judge Memorial. Tomé clases avanzadas y de honores, fui la vicepresidenta de la Sociedad Nacional de Honores, un ministro interlocutor activo, y miembro del equipo de Lacrosse.
Durante todo ese tiempo que estuve buscando mi identidad lejos de mi madre, tenía mucho miedo y entré en una depresión muy fuerte. Mi única sensación de seguridad fue tomada de mí y yo no sabía cómo lidiar con ella. Apenas me conocía a mí misma.
Seguí empujándome a mí misma y después de graduarme de la secundaria, empecé en la universidad de Westminster. Luego terminar mi licenciatura en la Universidad de Utah, tuve la oportunidad de obtener subvenciones y becas por las que estoy eternamente agradecida. A temprana edad aprendí el valor de tener un sueño y tener metas. He utilizado las bases del trabajo duro que mi madre me enseñó, y con el apoyo de mi familia, la orientación de mentores en mi comunidad y mis redes sociales he podido mantener activa la visión de todas las cosas que quiero lograr en mi vida y tengo fe en que las lograré.
Henry Ford dijo una vez: "La vida es una serie de experiencias, cada uno de los cuales nos hace más grandes, a pesar de que a veces es difícil darse cuenta de esto. El mundo fue construido para desarrollar el carácter, y tenemos que aprender que los reveses y las aflicciones que soportamos nos ayudan en nuestra marcha hacia adelante." Hay experiencias que atravesamos en la vida que sentimos como que no las merecemos, pero todas son oportunidades para aprender y crecer.