Meet Pamela Breslin, she joined 18 Degrees as a volunteer in 2018. Prior to Covid-19 you could find her in our West St office every Wednesday morning providing English language instruction. People, laughter, and energy filled the community room where she taught. The English Language Learners classes she facilitated brought in 10-12 families every week, primarily new immigrant women with their children. The children went to the playroom with our staff, while the parents joined Pamela to learn English.
When Pamela retired from Miss Hall‘s School, she wanted to find another way to contribute to the community. She came in contact with our Volunteer Coordinator and discussed how she could share her talents. When our Latinx families found out we had a Spanish speaking teacher for the classes, they flooded in! Initially, 24 people were attending the classes, which have been reduced as we found more teachers.
Since COVID and the limitations put on in-person meetings, Pamela provides instruction for English language learners via Zoom. Instead of the two hours per week session, she spends 5-7 hours per week giving individualized sessions. She is grateful to have this structure and purpose while so many other things are unpredictable.
Although she misses the community and energy of the in-person sessions, she is able to tailor her lessons for each student. Pamela sees the improvements in her students’ comprehension and fluency.
She also notes that the one-on-one sessions allow even our shyest students to grow in both their confidence and skill. Pamela is most proud of the two students she has tutored who received citizenship, “Two more voters!” she cheers. She is looking forward to partnering with the Berkshire Immigrant Center to guide even more of her students through the citizenship process.
Pamela says she loves 18 Degrees! She credits the program’s success to the agency providing childcare, transportation assistance, and meals. “It has made all the difference for people to be able to access this service.“ We are grateful to Pamela for sharing her gift of language and bringing new beginnings to light for our newest citizens