Valley Non-profit Trains Tutors How To Help Adults Learn English

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

Sometimes life's circumstances or the struggle of immigration can leave people without the education they need to understand English. One Valley organization is trying to make sure no one gets left behind.

Nancy Rosano knows how hard it can be for an adult who can't speak the native language. Some of her relatives were born in other countries.

"I see how they struggle," she said. "It's lonely, it seems lonely for some people that they can't communicate. They would be dependent on who they know that can speak that language."

Rosano decided to take tutoring lessons at Skyline Literacy, a Harrisonburg non-profit dedicated to giving adults the skills they need to understand English.

"I think it's great experience to have. Just the thought of improving someone's standard of living," said Rosano.

Skyline's Volunteer Coordinator Barbie Spitz says that's what it's all about.

"There's nothing better than seeing that look on someone's face when they get it, and being able to communicate more one week way more than you could the week before."

That feeling is why Ray Horst has stuck with tutoring for the past nine years. A former Spanish teacher, he now leads classes on the best ways to get through to a non-English speaker.

A veteran at bilingual communication, he knows how afraid those people can be.

"I sense that in the people that come here as immigrants without knowing English," he said. "I'm helping them gain enough skills to be less fearful about their surroundings."

These tutors will be responsible for helping hundreds of adults learn to read, write, and speak English.

For Nancy Rosano, helping her relatives get those skills, will be the greatest accomplishment.

"To be able to teach knowledge, to me, I don't think there's anything more important."

Skyline Literacy teaches English to more than 300 people in The Valley every year.

They hope to see more people willing to become tutors and help those who need it.


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