English Drive

The canvassers were hopeful as they stood on a sunny 8th Avenue, one Saturday afternoon last week, clipboards tucked under their arms, trying to flag down speeding pedestrians and hand out fliers.

No, they were not trying to give people lunch special coupons to Seafood Delight, these were volunteers for a new education drive aimed at ESL courses for Shang Heights’ Chinese residents.

Canvasser“Not too much luck so far!” said plucky volunteer and  area local, Sara Greenwald. “I’ve had a few people stop but no takers yet.”

Sara and many others have signed on with community volunteer, Rachel Pappas, who holds an ESL class at Brooklyn Spiritual Center on Monday nights that has so far been sparsely attended.

“I started the program on Monday nights because of a few of my neighbors who wanted to improve their English,” Pappas said “but now we want to try and expand that program and help even more people.”

Back on the street, Sara had successfully engaged a group of teenagers.

“They could all speak English but were going to tell their parents about it. That is the most important thing, getting the word out. Unfortunately the Chinese-language abilities of our staff are limited, that’s why we’re always looking for English instructor volunteers as well!”

The course is available on Mondays nights with a suggested donation of $5 per person, which includes one hour of instruction and access to the Wellness Center’s donated lending library of over 100 titles.


A stack of donated books at the BSC

Visit the Wellness Center for more information on taking the course, or for volunteer/teaching opportunities.