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July 2021
A Letter from Our Executive Director
  Thank You, Paula
Dear Friends,
When you work with someone for fifteen years, you get to know them well. And if you’re lucky, you learn a lot from them. You learn how to do new things at work, how to think about things differently, and maybe even uncover a few things about yourself you never knew. 

When Paula applied for the ESOL Program Manager position back in February of 2007, she wrote in her cover letter, “I enjoy helping build strong communities and creating a linkage between communities. I enjoy connecting families to services that have a positive impact on their future.” She didn’t know it then, but I’d decided to hire her even before she came in for her interview. She’d been a key partner to LVGH in her role as Parent Educator at the Clark Resource Center, where she helped us build and sustain a vibrant, active community site. 

Hiring Paula was one of the best decisions I’ve made. She’s a whiz at all the details and administration that go into being an effective program manager. She has our database wrapped around her pinky. She’s caring, empathetic and supportive of students and tutors alike. She has the patience of a saint with all of us. And she’s really smart. She learns new stuff quickly and she’s not afraid to tackle the unknown or the seemingly impossible. While she was busy caring for family and working full-time at LVGH, she was also taking college classes, earning her degree in 2015. 

All of that made hiring her a good decision. But it was her heart and her sincere commitment to making things better for everyone around her that have made me feel so lucky to have her on our team. Her passion for our students and dedication to their success. That she teaches us all to see things from a different angle, an angle that always reflects kindness and understanding. She even tries to teach us all to be a little more patient. (Some have been better students than others.) 

Paula will be retiring from LVGH on August 6, and maybe for the first time in her life, taking the time to take care of herself. We will miss her tremendously. We are so grateful for the strong ESOL program she has helped build, for all the communities she has connected along the way, for all the students and tutors whose lives have been enriched by her. We wish her health, peace and continued growth as she takes this new path in her life. And we promise to stay connected, just like she taught us. 

With all of us wishing Paula all good things ahead,
Tutor Q&A with Darah
"The program had transformed my father’s life so I was eager to give back and help others in the same way."

Q: When did you start volunteering with us, and what inspired you to become a tutor?
A: I started volunteering with LVGH around November 2020. I was stuck at home, taking my classes online due to Covid-19 and I decided to do some volunteering to occupy all the newfound free time I had. I always told myself that if I was going to volunteer for something, it would be a program that I had a deep connection and passion for. After I moved to the U.S in 2010, my father took English classes with LVGH. I saw firsthand how impactful these classes were in improving his adjustment to a new language and culture. Before, he always needed me to help with important calls or doctor’s appointments. I was constantly worried about not being there when he really needed my help. After I came back home from my first year of college, I was very surprised to see how much he had improved taking classes consistently with the program. When I spoke to him about volunteering, he recommended LVGH and I thought it would be a perfect fit. The program had transformed my father’s life so I was eager to give back and help others in the same way.

Q: What has your experience with online tutoring via Zoom been like?
A: As someone who’s a little afraid of public speaking, tutoring via Zoom has made the transition a lot easier than I expected. It allowed me to build my confidence before teaching in person. Now I’m less nervous to stand in front of the class when we resume in person teaching.

Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking of signing up as an LVGH tutor, or what advice would you give to a new tutor?
A: I would say, just go for it! I was initially intimidated because the thought of teaching someone anything seemed very difficult. The program provides a lot of training and support to make sure you are well prepared. Your co-teachers are also valuable resources so make sure you keep in contact with them and try to coordinate your lesson plans.

Career Pathways Event
LVGH Welcomes FedEx, Students for Career Day

On July 21st, LVGH was happy to have been able to host our first Career Day event in well over a year!

A representative from FedEx joined us to tell students about their various job openings available across Connecticut. Tutors and staff assisted students with conducting job searches and filling out applications. Others sought advice on how to update their resumes and got prepared by participating in mock interviews. 

The event was an overall success, and we were so happy to see so many students back in the office again, building connections and working towards their goals. 
July 2021
Student Successes

(left) Congratulations to Wala and El Amin, who recently passed their tests to become U.S. citizens! The couple have both been students in our citizenship class for the past year and before that, Wala was taking ESOL classes, as well. Congrats to both of them!

(right) Oscar has been a student in our Food Services Job Training Program for about a month and this week, he passed the test to earn his ServSafe Food Handler Certification! Congrats, Oscar!
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