To implement the Church’s commitment to social justice and her emphasis on “Welcoming the Stranger,” the mission of Hogar Immigrant Services is to offer a wide range of services at little or no cost to a vulnerable immigrant population, without regard to religious or ethnic identity. These services include but are not limited to, immigration legal services, naturalization assistance, citizenship classes, and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Our aim is to assist newcomers to achieve their own goals of integrating successfully into American society, to work collegially with other social service organizations, and to do so in a supportive, welcoming, and professional manner. We accomplish this through the continued generosity of our donors and through the dedicated service of our well-trained staff and volunteers.
By Jacqueline Link, Catholic Charities Hogar Immigrant Services Volunteer
Volunteering at Hogar Immigrant Services has given me the great opportunity to combine two things that I love: learning about different languages and cultures, and helping others. When looking for a way to spend my summer, I was searching for something that would allow me to continue my work at school tutoring English and working with immigrants. In my summer with Hogar, I have had the invaluable experiences of assisting other volunteer teachers, writing and creating lesson plans, and, most importantly, carrying out those lesson plans in front of a classroom full of eager students. I am not a natural teacher, but I quickly grew comfortable leading lessons and adapting to students’ needs, knowing that what I was doing could make a difference in their lives and experiences in America. The students were so enthusiastic to learn English and to be able to better communicate with Americans, and this enthusiasm was both encouraging and inspiring to see.
It has been very rewarding to be able to spend time with the students, and especially to learn more about them during Coffee and Conversation hour. I think I learned as much from them about their lives and cultures as they hopefully learned from me. One of my favorite memories of teaching so far is perhaps when a student came up to me after class to show me a picture of her grandson, and told me all about the rest of her family using English she had learned here.
I am also very thankful to the staff and other volunteer teachers, who have welcomed me here and have always had tips and constructive criticism that helped me grow as a teacher. The classes and services offered here are so important, and I’m glad to have been a part of that. I started my internship at Hogar not entirely sure if I could handle teaching an entire classroom, but now as I wrap up my time here, I know that teaching English as a second or foreign language is something I want to pursue after college graduation.
Can you volunteer your time to change the lives of Hogar students? Can you make a gift so we can use more technology in the classroom or offer more scholarships? Sign up as a volunteer or make a financial donation today. We can’t do it without you!