“It’s Tuesday. Oh, good. Frank’s coming today.” This reassuring thought occurs weekly about fifteen minutes before 10:00 every Tuesday morning. LSS Center for New Americans recently nominated Frank Boerema for the Helpline Center’s “Spirit of Volunteerism Award,” an award honoring outstanding volunteers in the Sioux Empire. Frank started volunteering in our English classes in June 2014 and has become a familiar and much-welcomed face around the place. I feel privileged to have Frank in my own classroom and appreciate his easy rapport and patient demeanor with our low level English speakers.
I asked Frank a couple questions the other day about his experience volunteering at the Center for New Americans. His responses were just too good not to share with everyone.
Why did you choose to start volunteering at LSS Center for New Americans?
I didn’t really know anything about LSS Center for New Americans until I was invited to the Taste of Cultures event last year. There was a brochure at the table of different ways to volunteer at the Center and then to my surprise, I find out it is right across the street from where I live. I was invited to take a tour and immediately I knew I wanted to become involved.
What do you enjoy most? What have you learned through your time with our clients?
What a great joy it is to help in the classrooms and get to know the students, to be so warmly greeted by them and their big smiles every time I come. I have learned a great respect for the students, their determination to learn and their desire to live here in America. I have learned a great respect for the teachers, their efforts to bring understanding and all the time and skill they bring into the classroom.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering in our English classes?
When people ask me about volunteering at the Center, I tell them their life will change as well as their perspective of people from other cultures. The students probably teach us as much as we teach them. It is always hard to leave when my scheduled time is over. I tell them that this is a powerful experience and that they are needed by the teachers as well as the students.
Interested in learning how to get involved as a volunteer in our English classes like Frank? Email Kristyne Walth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 605-731-2009.