There is considerable attention paid today to illegal aliens spiked with a liberal dose of animosity. Many immigrants are not illegal with backgrounds as varied as the nations outside of our borders. And unless your bloodline is Native American you or your ancestors were of that number.
The reasons they come are varied as well; temporary expatriates with job assignments, marriages to citizens, students at large or those seeking a better life economically. Whatever the reason, if their primary language is not English then life can be very frustrating if not hard and isolating.
There was a story about a Russian immigrant in New York at the turn of the century who couldn’t locate his arranged connection when he arrived. After considerable trials he was able to communicate with someone who sold him a word for $50 and that word was “work”. That one word was the key that unlocked the opportunity for him to begin to survive on foreign shores.
Being able to communicate is a rich and powerful tool. Being literate, the ability to read and write was once only reserved as the right of kings and their courts or the monk scribes who dedicated their lives to preserving knowledge. Black slaves were denied this skill as an acknowledgement of its power. Yet, today, children as young as three years old can be taught to read.
It takes a lot of courage to come to a new country, assimilate a foreign culture and become proficient in a language that is not your native tongue. You can help enrich someone’s life by becoming a tutor for adult literacy.
Read to Learn is an adult literacy program funded by a state grant that offers free one-on-one reading and writing tutoring for adults who speak English. The program is offered through Township High School District 214 which services the NW suburbs of Chicago. Tutors are trained and have a selection of schedules and locations from which to choose.
Offer your time and talent; call 847-718-7724. Give someone the gift of literacy. Volunteer.