teaching, and advocating for underserved populations, paying tribute to her mentor
Brondy Shanker, and recruiting and working with dedicated volunteer tutors.
Tutors have helped students of all different levels of fluency in English, and have
also taught American-born students, children, and adults, who wanted extra practice
learning to read.
Many of the current tutors volunteer through Friends of the Shaker Library’s
affiliation with the Greater Cleveland Volunteers. They include Bob Lanese, Janet
Reinke, Judy Solanche, Sarah Hollander, Sheri Lawrence, and Dawn Wilson.
Tutor Kathy Elder says, “The stories we use in the program at the Library
present different aspects of English in such an entertaining way that the classes are a
lot of fun.”
Emily Griffin tutors for two reasons. One is that she spent some time abroad
in college. “If it weren’t for native speakers slowing things down for me and getting
me familiar with the language, I would have felt a lot more lost than I did. So this
is paying it back in a small way.” Griffin enjoys seeing families come to ESL class to
learn together. “They are my favorite kind of students.”
Steiner personally recruited her good friend and Onaway resident, Dana
Murphy, who says, “I’m passionate about our Library being a place for all. I’m happy
to welcome our ESL students and make them feel at home in our community. As a
tutor, I’m in awe of the hard-working students I see, week after week. In a troubled
world, it’s enriching to reach out and connect. We are finding common ground – and
having fun too.”
Lomond resident Michele Lachman learned about the program during a visit to
the Library. Her father was born in Russia and emigrated to the U.S. when he was
five years old. He learned to speak English in Detroit public schools, and, like many
immigrant children, acted as interpreter for his parents. “I would like to offer new
immigrants the same kind of help my father was so grateful for,” Lachman says.
When Dr. Nabila Rizk-Awais retired from her medical practice, she explored
volunteering. She’s happy she chose to get involved with the program as she has
enjoyed meeting many students with interesting backgrounds who are eager to learn.
Steiner is thankful for the dedicated ESL volunteers who excel at creating a
welcoming environment and providing an encouraging teaching style. “They are
flexible, fun, and committed to a weekly volunteer schedule.”
In August 2016, Steiner began keeping a list of all the countries the students
hail from and the list keeps growing. So far, she counts students from every
continent, except for Australia and Antarctica. ESL tutors have taught students from
Benin, Burkina Faso, China, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, France,
Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Libya,
Mali, Mexico, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Spain, Syria, Togo,
Turkey, Venezuela, and Vietnam. SL
Bonjour. Hallo. Namaste.
Language learning isn’t just for a
special family vacation to Spain or
that business trip to Japan. Language
learning can also bring a community
together by breaking down language
barriers with our neighbors.
In Shaker Heights, almost 10
percent of the population is composed
of non-native speakers of English.
More than 2,600 people living in
Shaker Heights do not speak English
at home. One of those people could be
your neighbor. Wouldn’t it be wonderful
to be able to say hello, good morning,
and have a real conversation with
Get free access to the Pimsleur®
audiobooks on Hoopla Digital at the
Library. The Pimsleur® Method is one
of the top-ranked language learning
software companies. All you need is
your library card. Purchasing individual
copies can be costly, but free access
to Hoopla from the Library provides
unlimited language learning. And for
those whose first language is not
English, there are also English lessons,
so everyone can come together and
Ami. Freund. Dost.
Sadiq. Kaibigan. Chingu.
WWW.SHAKER.LIFE | SPRING 2018 17