It Takes Courage
Imagine your last experience speaking in front of a group. Was the audience large or small? Were they strangers, or family and friends? Where were you, and how did you feel? Nervous? Excited? Ready to dive behind the podium out of fright?
Now what if I told you that you would relive this experience, only now, you weren’t going to deliver a lesson plan, recite Shakespeare, or discuss global marketing trends – instead you were going to speak to an audience of 400 strangers about one of your most profound life experiences…and you were going to do all of this in a second language you had only recently begun to learn.
One year ago Ping, her husband, and two children Ethan and Edwina, moved to Minnesota. Originally from Hong Kong, Ping learned about Neighborhood House from a friend of her husband and began taking English classes at the Wellstone Center. She is currently enrolled in our Advanced English Language Learner program and is working toward her GED.
“Every day I learn something new, and I feel close to the people at Neighborhood House, they are like family.”
Last evening Ping and her family took the stage at our annual benefit, Revel with a Cause. Looking out on a sea of twinkling candles and unfamiliar faces, Ping shared how her involvement with Neighborhood House has opened doors for her children:
“Ethan has been a part of the childcare program and Edwina joined Skills for School this past summer. I can’t believe how quickly Edwina has learned English. She can already speak so well! Edwina, would you like to say hello.”
Edwina, who until this moment had been waving at guests and engaging in a lively wrestling match with with her father to pirouette about the stage, settled down and calmly walked to her mother to take the mic. Blinded by a spotlight, she peered out into the darkness and in a small voice greeted the room.
Neighborhood House’s education programs not only teach English, but also prepare students for the next step in their education, they help build the confidence is takes for new members of our community to visit a grocery store, interview for a new job, or call the doctor to set up an appointment for their children. Through their work with Neighborhood House, Ping and her family are building a better life together.
By: Anders Ringdahl-Mayland