Sara Jones and her husband, Rick, have been Bettye Donohoo’s neighbors and friends for several years. Bettye helped Sara several years ago when Sara was a part of an ESL program.
One day—about two years ago—out of the blue, Sara called Bettye. She told Bettye about a young Mexican man doing some work at her house who had approached her about starting an English language training program at Lakeside Presbyterian Church. He asked Sara if he could arrange a meeting with the pastors of the Spanish speaking congregation.
“Bettye,” Sara said, “I don’t know anyone at that church except you. I want to do this but unless you tell me you will come with me, and help me if they agree, I won’t even go for a meeting.”
The meeting happened and Sara’s ESL program at Lakeside Presbyterian Church is the result.
The ESL classes now teach between 40 and 60 students in three classes: intermediate and senior. Classes run for an hour and a half every Saturday morning. A child care center has been added to allow parents to attend classes knowing that the children are taken care of. Saturday morning at the church had been originally for teaching basic computer skills to high school students. Now with an ESL class running 10:30 to 12 noon and a sewing class from 12:30 to 2 p.m., the church decided to provide a 10 a.m. brunch based on the principal that hungry bodies do not learn quickly.
The teachers are all competent in English and Spanish, but as enrollment has tripled in the past two years, helpers are needed. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the church office/administrator 376-106-0853.