About half of St. John’s community service budget supports ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and citizenship classes run by the Town of West Hartford and hosted here at the church. Both language and citizenship classes take place on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from September through May. An additional citizenship class is held during the summer session (mid-May to late June). The Community Service Committee is currently in conversation with town staff about exciting new possibilities for program expansion, to provide additional support for people to learn English and other skills through the St. John’s program.
The classes are all free of charge. In addition, the classes held at St. John’s are open to residents of any Greater Hartford municipality, whereas classes held on town property are only open to West Hartford residents. Through this program, St. John’s is helping to support dozens of immigrants who are working hard to improve their language skills and their families’ lives.
To learn more about how the St. John’s ESOL and citizenship classes help change people’s lives for the better, check out the booklet in Hubbard Hall on Sunday morning titled ESL Class: Our Stories. Edited by one of the program’s most popular teachers, Joe, this booklet includes first-person stories from students who have found the help and support they need here at St. John’s. Here’s a sample of the stories included in this booklet:
I’m Anthony from Togo in West Africa, which is a French-speaking country. I’m an engineer in telecommunications, a field I worked in for over 30 years. I’m now retired and living with my son here in Connecticut for four months now. I’m in Joe’s class to improve my speaking and comprehension skills. My goal is to be fluent so that I can communicate freely and easily.
I’m Maria and I came from Peru 20 years ago with luggage full of hopes and dreams and challenges. My main ambition was to help my son become a graphic designer and we succeeded. Now I’m resting, having worked two full-time jobs in a prestigious restaurant. Now I’m doing what I love, learning to listen and comprehend English lessons. Thanks to my professor Joe for sharing his knowledge with us. Thank you to St. John’s Church for the immense opportunity you provide.