If you could change a life in just a couple hours a week… would you?

August 29, 2017
By: Lauren Nisenson, 
Director of Philanthropy

Kim and his family relocated from South Korea to New Jersey when he accepted a spot in Rutgers’ School of Public Affairs and Administration degree program. They chose Summit, as many of us do, for the wonderful community, proximity to NYC, and the opportunities for their children.

While moving–especially internationally!–is challenging enough, most of us take for granted that we don’t need to learn a new culture upon settling in 07901. Understanding major things such as how society “works,” and seemingly minor things like conversational idioms, pose major challenges for international students and newcomers to the United States. While speaking and writing in English weren’t stumbling blocks, Kim did feel inhibited in his classes and in business conversations, and sought out assistance to ease his transition to the U.S.

Kim was drawn to The Connection’s English as a Second Language program, and began meeting with long-time volunteer and Connection member, Bob. Bob and his wife Lynn, a retired teacher, first saw the program in action while on the way to use the fitness center. Intrigued by this side of The Connection they hadn’t know about previously, they eagerly became involved.

Over the weeks, Kim would share challenges, and he and Bob would work through solutions. If you were to pass by Bob and Kim meeting during their sessions, you might have assumed they were friends catching up before a workout. And over the course of a year, this is what they became. These small, friendly classes offer technical help to aid attendees in achieving their various goals, and all involved experience a truly supportive environment. Bob wasn’t simply Kim’s teacher, but his advocate, and epitomized the community one can find at The Connection, and in Summit.

If you’re interested in changing a life by becoming a volunteer with The Connection’s ESL program, please contact Jane Walbridge at 908-273-4242 ext. 129 or jane.walbridge@theconnectiononline.org. No experience needed. ESL classes for Beginner through Advanced are available starting September 11, and are offered Mondays: 9-11am and 6:30-8:30pm, Tuesdays: 10-12pm, Wednesdays: 9-11am, and Thursdays, 10-12pm.

The Connection has offered English as a Second Language classes in Summit since 1945, and for the third year The Summit Free Public Library has partnered with The Connection by offering their facilities and services to help educate and support the ESL students in the community. In addition to hosting eight ESL classes a week, the Summit Library has a large collection of books and compact disks for all library patrons learning English.  The library has many other services including computers for public use, WiFi, study rooms and more.