(PRESS RELEASE)_Boca Raton, FL (June 28, 2021)—Boca Helping Hands is offering a six-week virtual English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class, called Intermediate ESOL Practice, each Wednesday beginning July 21, from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm. In addition, the organization has also established an ongoing virtual “Conversation Café” as part of its Professional Development Program to help its clients improve their English language skills. Both programs are currently being held via Zoom.
Nearly 500 individuals have participated in the Boca Helping Hands ESOL program since it began in 2014. The goal of the newly added Intermediate ESOL Practice course is to build fluency through spontaneous discussion. The class will view and discuss videos about everyday topics, participate in writing activities and vocabulary building, and learn about structure and grammar to become more fluent in English.
“As a resource-based agency, it is imperative that we continue to find ways to match our community’s needs adequately,” said Trina Chin Cheong, BHH Director of Programs. “This class gives Boca Helping Hands yet another opportunity to meet those needs by providing engaging and meaningful English learning opportunities.”
This is the second iteration of the class, the first starting back in May with 17 students. “I would absolutely recommend this course, the teachers are very patient, and it’s a good opportunity to learn and feel confident,” said Doris Fisher, a previous Intermediate ESOL Practice student. “I feel more confident when I talk to people, it has helped me to learn new words, and my English has improved.”
The volunteer instructor for the upcoming class is Lisa Talley, who is president of a multimedia consulting agency geared toward nonprofits in her professional life. Talley has a Master’s degree in Communications and Digital Media as well as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Langauge) Certification. She first learned about BHH’s programming through volunteering with the Rotary Club of Boca Raton, packing food in the BHH warehouse.
In May, Talley started shadowing the current volunteer instructor and ESOL course creator, Victoria Navaratte, to learn the ropes in preparation for July’s class. Involved with Boca Helping Hands since 2019, Navarrete designed the Survival English (beginner’s ESOL) course that launched earlier this year and compiled videos and lesson plans for the Intermediate ESOL Practice course.
“This program will allow them to build and practice these skills in a relaxed environment where they can experiment with and make mistakes in English with no negative consequences,” said Navarrete. “When they use their new language skills outside of the classroom, they will be confident in their communication abilities and will have strategies for dealing with new situations that arise in those contexts.”
Conversation Café is open to all levels and helps students practice English in a casual and conversational setting. People can participate at their leisure to further develop existing language skills through conversations with other students and BHH volunteers. Conversation Café is held twice a week on Tuesdays from 5:15 pm-6:15 pm and Fridays from 2 pm-4 pm. Participants must register at least 24 hours in advance to receive the Zoom link.
To register for the Intermediate ESOL Practice course or Conversation Café, please visit bocahelpinghands.org/ESOL. Individuals must reside in Palm Beach County and need a personal computer, internet connection, and Zoom access.
For more information on Boca Helping Hands, visit bocahelpinghands.org.
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