In December 2007, Wellspring was honored to begin administration of the Adult Learning Center, located at Sawyer Free Library. The work of the Adult Learning Center fits seamlessly with Wellspring’s ongoing work in adult education, which includes skill and job training programs, as well as a continuum of educational programs spanning GED (General Equivalency Diploma) preparation to college level classes.
Throughout our first 10 months, the Wellspring Adult Learning Center has proven to be a vibrant and growing learning community. We are currently serving 30 ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) students aided by 18 volunteer ESOL tutors. Additionally we are working with about 6 GED students. In total we are presently serving 36 students through the resources of 2 part-time staff and 20 volunteers! Each of these 36 students comes to the center for 1 to 2 sessions per week. Over the last 10 months we have seen the student population and volunteer team more than double since the first days of December, 2007.
Our students are a diverse group representing a range of backgrounds and educational experiences. It is a privilege to work with and learn from them. Our ESOL students come from a variety of countries including: Albania, Brazil, China, Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Thailand, and Ukraine. GED students also present with a range of educational backgrounds and needs. Some students require only to brush up and gain the confidence to take and pass the GED test. Others will work with us over many months.
This summer ESOL learners and volunteers came together to celebrate our variety of cultures and experiences with day and evening multicultural events. Students shared ethnic foods and presented cultural items from their home countries. We enjoyed an array of delicious international foods: Thai spring rolls, tamales, Mexican rice pudding, and Filipino rice noodles, to name just a few of the homemade dishes offered. Students also introduced beautifully handcrafted items from their country, including a hand painted Ukrainian egg, a musical instrument from Dominican Republic, called a “guira,” and a traditional rose garland, called “malai” from Thailand. Students and volunteers enjoyed learning about each other, practicing English, and celebrating the wonderful diversity represented in our group of adult learners.
It has been a pleasure and honor to collaborate with the adult learners and volunteers at the Wellspring Adult Learning Center. As we move into our second year, we will continue to celebrate the joy of lifelong learning and to provide a nurturing environment for adults to progress toward their educational and life goals.
Wellspring Adult Learning Center Coordinator and Teacher