©Laura Mikowychok has had a far-reaching effect on his and his family’s life. “Before VEP, I had difficulty with words that made it hard for other people to understand me. It has helped my wife and me a lot, in our jobs and in our general lives. My tutor has changed our lives a lot,” he said. Another student, Mariana, commented on her sense of self-empowerment that came with learning English through the program. “Any person who chooses to live and work in a country must learn to speak the language of that country,” she said. “I think that is most important for everyone, because you need to communicate so you can attend a school, you can get a good job, you can have friends. The fact that I know how to write, read and speak in English is proof that VEP had a huge contribution to my life and my family.” Other students who have worked through VEP reported that the program has not only been central to their learning of the English language, but it has also helped them achieve bigger life goals. For many immigrants, learning English is often only one of many steps toward accomplishing greater, long-term objectives.
Roberta, a 38-year Alex Ihnatisiuk (facing camera), was a old from Mexico, has lived in the U.S. for recent VEP gust speaker who spoke to more 16 years. She and her than 160 guests at the Desmond Hotel. tutor have been working together for the past two years and the very vision of the Volunteer English Roberta recently passed the U.S. Citizen- Program. The organization remains comship test, meeting her lifelong ambition. mitted to providing affordable and accesDaniel, a 25-year-old from Costa Rica, sible services by welcoming immigrants worked as a handyman and took classes wherever they are on the path of literacy before he was matched with a VEP tutor. and English proficiency—regardless of He is now employed by a furniture maker/ income or residency status. Not only does contractor and studying to become a VEP’s model provide essential support to commercial airline pilot. Janice, 52 years all of their students, but especially to the old, was a former kindergarten teacher in 55% who self-report incomes at or below China and has been working to improve established poverty levels. her English-speaking skills through a VEP Undoubtedly, our community has been tutor and by joining the local Toastmasenriched in countless ways by the generters Club. Janice was recently hired by a ous efforts made by the tutors who selflocal school district. Premisa, a 24-yearlessly donate their time through the Volold from Albania, came to the U.S. with a unteer English Program, motivated by the degree in Social Work and currently works idea that they can change the world, one at a local grocery store. Wishing to get a person at a time — and starting right here better job, she is now enrolled at Delaware in Chester County. County Community College and volunteering in her local community. The testimonies of these current and former students clearly underscore the spirit of generosity and openness that is
For more information on how to support or get involved with the Chester County Volunteer English Program, visit volunteerenglish.org.
MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM
Voice of the Borough