The purpose of the Beacon of H.O.P.E. "English as a Second Language" program is to provide a safe place for non-English speaking Pine Islanders to learn English.
The program is available for students of all ages. Currently the program has 12 students.
Beginner classes are available on Mondays, from 6-8 p.m., and advanced classes are available on Tuesdays, from 6-8 p.m., at the Bokeelia Firehouse.
There are three skill levels: Literacy, Intermediate and Advanced.
At the Literacy level, students learn to read with basic language skills.
At the Intermediate level, students learn conversation, improve reading, grammar and begin writing.
Members at the Advanced level have at least basic casual conversation skills but are working to improve their pronunciation and grammar as well as other reading and writing, for personal and job purposes.
The Literacy Council Gulf Coast lists 7 basic goals for ESOL students:
1. To have better communication with their child's school or with medical professionals.
2. To improve their ability to help their child with schoolwork.
3. To be able to secure a job.
4. To be promoted or secure a better job.
5. To obtain higher education.
6. To pass the U.S. Citizenship test.
7. To communicate with their neighbors within their community.
The program currently has seven mentors - one middle school, three high school and three adults.
"We need dedicated and motivated volunteers who want to change a life," said Nancy Cote, program coordinator.
"Sharing the gift of English with a motivated student brings satisfaction to both the student and the tutor."
It's easy to become a volunteer. No foreign language or teaching experience is necessary. Literacy Council of Gulf Coast offers a one time, six-hour training workshop monthly for new tutors.
There is a small fee for teaching materials. Beacon of H.O.P.E. ESOL tutors are expected to commit to teaching an hour-and-a-half to two hour class once a week at the Bokeelia Firehouse.
Those interested can fill out the Literacy Council of Gulf Coast application online (www.literacygulfcoast.com) but also forward that form to Nancy Cote, Beacon of H.O.P.E. ESOL program coordinator at (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note on the application that you want to tutor at the Beacon of H.O.P.E.
Students and mentors can also apply at the Beacon of H.O.P.E., 5465 Pine Island Road, N.W.
For additional information about the program, call 239-283-5123.