Toledo Board of Jewish Education offers free ESL classesWritten by Katherine Timpf | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 1988, the Toledo Board of Jewish Education has offered free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
“One, it’s important for American society that the United States have immigrants that can learn to speak the language,” said Wendy Goldstein, program director. “Two, it helps the person coming in from another country to get acclimated much better in the American society if they can speak English.”
Goldstein said her program, located at the Toledo Young Men’s Christian Association/Jewish Community Center (YMCA/JCC), teaches adults ages 18 and older from several different countries.
Goldstein said the adults in her program have several different needs. Some are mothers looking to be able to help their children with their homework. Others are professionals in their home countries, trying to fulfill the requirements to practice in the United States. Others are seeking citizenship. Others have simpler goals.
“Some want to come in here and be able to walk into a restaurant and feel comfortable,” Goldstein said.
ESL teacher Deb Kurth said one of her most rewarding experiences in the program occurred at a restaurant.
“Last year, I had a couple of South Korean students, and we decided to take an outing and go out to lunch, Kurth said. “It was so cute because I didn’t have to help them. They ordered from the menu; they read from the menu — they ordered it in perfect English; and I was very proud of them. They had a lot of fun and they were proud of themselves.”
The program has two levels.
“One class is conversation that calls for our higher-end learners, then we have another class which is basic,” Goldstein said. “We go over grammar in that class, and we can [teach people from] many different levels. We’ve had students that come in that do not even know their name in English.”
Both programs also teach practical skills, Goldstein said.
“We’ve made appointments for them at doctors’ [offices], we’ve helped them with banking. It’s more than just walking into a class and opening up a book,” Goldstein said.
Classes run from 9 a.m. to noon, on Mondays through Thursdays beginning Sept. 3 at the Sylvania YMCA/JCC located at 6465 Sylvania Ave. For more information, call (419) 724-0360 or (419) 724-0391.