The amazing volunteers of the Los Ricos Teachers Group are known to exceed expectations. Only this time, they’re doing it at the headquarters of Feed the Hungry San Miguel.
Learning languages is important, no matter where in the world you are. One language that is incredibly important to learn is English, especially if you are Mexican and work in a multicultural NGO. Because of the number and power of the countries that do speak English, English has become the “international business language”. It is also the language of philanthropy.
In a sunlight-filled courtyard at the Feed the Hungry volunteer picnic last fall, Gifford Moody (President of Feed the Hungry A.C.) motioned to Dianne Walta-Hart, leader of the Los Ricos Teachers Group, that he wanted to chat. “I have an idea“, he said. “What if some of Feed the Hungry’s volunteer English teachers who teach at Los Ricos de Abajo start tutoring the Feed the Hungry staff?” When he saw Dianne’s puzzled look, he expanded on his vision. Dianne recalls: “he said that if some of our volunteers would do the teaching, FTH would take the amount it would normally cost for tutors and donate it to the Los Ricos scholarship program. It clicked in my mind and in that of the handful of volunteers who by then were clustering around us.“
So, it was decided. But who to do it? Many of the Los Ricos volunteer teachers are part-time, others already over-committed. Before long, two stepped forward: Ezequiel Ruiz, a Spanish teacher in San Miguel who was teaching with some of the Los Ricos volunteers in a school in the city, and Ethelyn Daroff (affectionately known as ‘Lyne’), a new volunteer from the Seattle area.
“When I first arrived to San Miguel de Allende in November 2018 I secured a substitute teaching position at Los Ricos. That experience changed my life by opening me up to the wonderful world of the Feed The Hungry Organization“, says Lyne. She learned early on that her success would be dependent on her ability to connect with the students. So, when asked if she would be interested in teaching English to FTH staff twice a week at the headquarters, she eagerly volunteered. “I was a bit unsure at first about how this would work out. I was welcomed by all and within a short time I learned that this is a group of very skilled and professional staff who take their jobs very seriously.“
Learning new words relating directly to their work will benefit the whole organization. Lyne soon noticed that her new pupils were very interested in being able to communicate more effectively with English-speaking volunteers and staff. “They were always eager to learn and took this opportunity very seriously“, she says.
Some of the benefits of learning English:
- Better communication in a multicultural atmosphere.
- Expansion of one’s cultural horizon.
- Strengthened sense of teamwork.
During her time teaching English to FTH staff, Lyne also learned more about how much work is required on a daily basis to provide nutritious meals for the children benefited by FTH’s core programs, which will impact their health and therefore also their academic performance. It was an extremely positive experience for all involved and therefore, the English classes are bound to continue for as long as logistically possible. Lyne concludes with words of appreciation: “I welcome the opportunity to continue this program, and I thank all who participated“.