Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Hispanic Apostolate, ESL Services

Lately I have been learning more about how to run a program that requires complete flexibility. For our tutoring program we match up volunteer tutors with ESL students, but every night any particular number of volunteers and students will show up. Students trickle in from 6:30 to 7:30, and volunteers often ask questions like “whose coming tonight? and how many students will I work with?” I tell them “I don’t know, just wait and see.” ESL students will sometimes be working one-on-one with a tutor and then end up in a group of 6. Some of them sneak stern glances my way, but I just shrug my shoulders and tell them, “that’s just what were working with tonight.” Starting up this new tutoring program in Metairie, I am making sure to let everyone know that flexibility is just a part of the program.

I think this is something I have had to learn, and I know others have had to too, working in non-profit organizations, but specifically in the ever unpredictable New Orleans. It’s the big and little things which show me that each day is never going to be exactly what I planned for. When I walked into a coffee shop this morning, I asked if there was wireless available, and the server responded, “Yeah, but its here and there, like everything else in this city.” I have become accustomed to the street lights in the main intersection of my building going out, flashing or even sometimes displaying red, green and yellow all at once. I think all those little things that go awry somehow prepare me for the bigger things- like an suv flipping over on top of my car. -Kate Harding, AmeriCorps VISTA Member

To learn more about Kate’s work with Hispanic Apostolate, visit their website at: http://haesl.blogspot.com

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Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

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