To the Editor:
As a member of the Princeton community for the past 17 years, I want to commend the staff, teachers, and volunteers who work with the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program of the YWCA Princeton. Over the years, both as a student and volunteer in the program, I have come to realize how important the program is for adults who want to improve their English and who want to become more productive members of their adopted home country. The ESL Program offers more than 40 courses to more than 400 students each year, as well as free Citizenship — and GED preparation courses by the 25 teachers. One feature that distinguishes this program is its capacity to offer enrolled students free additional sessions conducted by community volunteers. These 40-50 volunteers provide an “immersion-type” atmosphere in which students can practice their English skills beyond the classroom. Also, varied cultural events and field trips are organized for the students, including productions at McCarter Theater, visits to the State House, State Museum, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University campus, Princeton Public Library, and Grounds for Sculpture, just to mention a few.
In our community, the ESL Program is an essential part of the effort to build self-sufficiency for individuals and families whose native language is not English and whose goals include seeking employment or obtaining better employment, gaining the ability to communicate with officials and social service workers in order to obtain needed services, and becoming more involved in their children’s education. The YWCA Princeton offers partial financial aid through its own scholarship program, and relies on government and private funding for support. In this season of giving, my request is that members in our community contribute to the YWCA Princeton ESL Program by becoming a volunteer or making a contribution to the ESL Scholarship Fund. Please visit the Web site at www.ywcaprinceton.org/esl for more information.
Shady Brook Lane,
Volunteer for ESL Program, YWCA Princeton