Zooming in on our ESL volunteers at Community Services Calgary

Volunteers teaching ESL have moved classes online
by Alberta

April 18-24 is National Volunteer Week, and The Salvation Army Community Services (Calgary) is highlighting a few of their volunteers.

“From it’s very origins, The Salvation Army has been a ‘volunteer army’, able to be a transforming influence in individual communities and around the world by harnessing the power of volunteerism,” says Major Al Hoeft, Divisional Secretary for Public Relations. “So many of the programs that The Salvation Army operates in each community are dependent on volunteers.”

During this pandemic, the need for ESL (English as a Second Language) volunteer assistance increased exponentially as the number of people who were looking for online English classes doubled.

“This would not have been possible without the support and exceptional instructions from our team of volunteers,” said Cecilia Ifko, Director of Human Relations for Community Services (Calgary). “To thank our online Zoom volunteers adequately is impossible.”

Volunteers have spent long hours after their workdays studying new technologies, reviewing lesson plans, looking for the most effective English teaching approaches and resources.

Currently, the online ESL program offers a wide range of courses designed for specific skill levels, groups of learners, and specific purposes. The learners have great opportunities for developing and practicing their English Language skills in an informal context, growing intercultural awareness, and building connections.

English is the official language in 53 countries with one out of five people being able to speak or at least understand the language. This skill can help individuals in Canada get a job, apply for school, become more involved in their community, and help put down roots.

The Salvation Army would like to thank these hardworking volunteers: Alsu, Amelia, Giles, Jane, Manzurul, Mohamed, and Noor for being the heroes behind the shield. Together, we are changing lives and Giving Hope Today.