After the presidential election, like many people, I thought I have to do something. I knew about People’s Resource Center from Girl Scouts and volunteering there. I thought it would be great to work with immigrants. In my work, I was a nurse, I saw lots of immigrants. And I saw how hard they had it, how hard they worked.
My first tutoring student was a young man who’d just come to the United States. He was so determined to succeed. A couple of weeks ago, we found out he is now going to College of DuPage, taking classes and working full-time. I asked him, “When are you going to sleep?”
He said, “Sleep is not important. School is too important.”
It’s not easy for these students, even when they get to that point, when they can take higher classes. Another student I know is taking class at COD also and everything is new to her. She’s smart but she has never read a textbook in English. I sat with her and showed her how to use the text book, the table of contents, the index, the subheads. In her language text books work differently. Imagine having to learn even those basics all over! Another thing she struggles with is how people see you. Thinking you aren’t smart because you don’t speak the language.
I wonder how students find the People’s Resource Center. The majority of people I know in my regular life don’t know about PRC. If I had a wish, I would wish for more students to know about this place. And for more PRCs!
Tutoring reaffirms what I learned as a young girl. When I was young, I got a penpal in another country. She was from Japan. We wrote each other for years and years and you know, we always wrote about the same things—boyfriends, family stuff, school, life.
It doesn’t matter where we’re from, we’re all the same.