UMN News 11/11/04

We are called to work so that every person's dignity is respected, the immigrant welcomed as brother or sister, and all humanity forms a united family which knows how to appreciate with discernment the different cultures which comprise it.
      -Pope John Paul II


ESL Staff:

Amy White, ESL Program Coordinator, x235

Cindy Brown, Associate ESL Coordinator, x239

Diana Gibson, Associate ESL Coordinator, x231

Erin Maradiegue, Associate ESL Coordinator, x251

Kristen Gasimov, Associate ESL Coordinator, x237

Sheila Sullivan, Associate ESL Coordinator, x238

Phil Spencer, Associate ESL Coordinator, x243

Hogar Hispano
6201 Leesburg Pike
Suite 307
Falls Church, VA 22044
(T) 703-534-9805
(F) 703-534-9809

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Amy's Ramblings

Pumpkin pie. Cranberry sauce. Turkey and stuffing. It’s no wonder Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. However, not everything is about food. So let’s stop and take a moment to recognize all of the things for which we are thankful.

Here at Hogar Hispano, we are thankful for all of you. You selflessly give over 25,000 hours of your time teaching people English every year. WOW! Without you, our dedicated corps of 275 volunteers, it would be impossible to run our programs. Staff is amazed and honored to be working with all of you.

Our students are also thankful. Students at Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling were asked what they were thankful for at the end-of-semester party. Students had the opportunity to write down their response on a feather that then decorated a lovely Thanksgiving Day turkey. (Please see picture below)

Some of the responses included:

“I am thankful for the life.”

“I am thankful for the opportunity for to learn together.”

“I am so happy to be here.”

“I am thankful for every teacher. They give me classes.”

“I am thankful for having my family with me.”

“I am thankful for the opportunity that you guys gave me of learning, specially of my teachers in room 9.”

As you can see, our students really appreciate the time and energy you put into your classes. Please have a safe journey if you are traveling to be with friends and family. From everyone here at Hogar Hispano…


Gobble gobble,

Amy White
ESL Program Coordinator

ESL Updates

Joe Wholey, our newest addition to the office, is assisting at Hogar Hispano in the classroom and in recruitment of new students. He came to Hogar Hispano through the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, which finds volunteer assignments for retirees and those nearing retirement. Joe has been busy observing and assisting with ESL classes, and coordinating outreach efforts with local parishes. His kind, encouraging nature makes students feel welcome and confident in the classroom.

In addition to having fun with our students, Joe brings a wealth of academic experience to his Lay Ignatian position. He retired from the University of Southern California in 2005, where he was a professor of public administration for 25 years. He and his wife Midge live in Arlington. They have five children and five grandchildren. In his free time Joe enjoys reading and watching movies with Midge. We are very happy to have Joe with us!


The schedule for Spring Semester '08 will be announced next month. Stay tuned!

Tip of the Month

Peter Piper Prevents Pronunciation Problems
One of the greatest challenges for a non-native English speaker is pronunciation. As a learner of a new language, mispronouncing a word can make you feel self-conscious and hesitant to speak again. Practicing tongue twisters is one way to ease the problems with pronunciation. Tongue twisters focus on repetitive sounds, so you can pick a tongue twister with sounds that students are having specific trouble with, such as “th”, or use it to practice different vowel sounds.

Begin by having the students read it to themselves.

King Thistle stuck a thousand thistles in the thistle of his thumb.
A thousand thistles King Thistle stuck in the thistle of his thumb.
If King Thistle stuck a thousand thistles in the thistle of his thumb,
How many thistles did King Thistle stick in the thistle of his thumb?

Then review it as a class reading one line at a time, having the students repeat after you.

King Thistle stuck a thousand thistles in the thistle of his thumb.

Once they are comfortable with each line, combine a couple lines.

King Thistle stuck a thousand thistles in the thistle of his thumb.
A thousand thistles King Thistle stuck in the thistle of his thumb.

Gradually build until they can say the whole thing together. With repeated practice, the students will gain increased intelligibility and confidence. You can even make a game out of it! Divide the students into groups and see which group can recite it the fastest.

Tongue twisters can also introduce new vocabulary and cultural commonalities. Tongue twisters exist in every language. Have your students share some tongue twisters in their native language!

For some tongue twister ideas check out:
The EFL Playhouse Tongue Twister Database

Volunteer Spotlight

This month we have chosen to spotlight one of the talented teaching teams at Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge-Pam Schou and Susan Edmunds.

Pam and Susan started teaching a Beginner level class this fall, but they have been volunteering for years. Long time friends, they are both active members of their church-participating in mission trips throughout the United States and in Mexico, teaching Sunday school, leading a bible study class, and teaching another ESL class on Tuesdays.

Last June, Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors introduced a contentious resolution targeting undocumented immigrants. Susan and Pam decided to "counteract the image that Prince William County is against all immigrants" by volunteering to work with Hogar. “My hope and prayer is to try and make [the immigrants] lives a little easier. [I want] to show them that not all of Prince William County wants them to leave and that there are people who accept them and love them for who they are,” said Pam.

Over the course of the semester Susan and Pam have shown that not only do the have big hearts, but they possess wonderful teaching skills. With their encouragement, their class has become a small family, celebrating successes and helping each other when it is needed. They even created a class calendar to remember everyone’s birthday. While, it is a challenge working with the varying language abilities and skills, they say that the class has been “a blessing.”

Together they create a fun, flexible, and comfortable learning environment for their students. Thank you Pam and Susan for your enthusiasm and dedication! Keep up the good work!

If you know of an outstanding volunteer who you would like to see in the spotlight, please contact Erin Maradiegue at or 703-534-9805 ext. 251.

November's Vignette

Immigrants: Know Your Rights! Hogar Hispano Conducts Workshops To Educate The Immigrant Community

“If I am detained and deported, who will take care of my children?”

“Can a police officer stop me on the street because I look Hispanic?”

“What will happen to my house and all of my things if I am deported?”

“Can I really remain silent when I am confronted by a police officer?”

An Urban Institute study asserts that the number of undocumented immigrants arrested in workplaces nationwide increased more than sevenfold from 500 to 3,600 between 2002 and 2006. Effective January 1, 2008, Prince William County police will implement a new ordinance that gives police officers the authority to question the legal status of those stopped in routine policing efforts. The collapse of comprehensive immigration reform in Congress combined with the actions of local governments as they attempt to enforce immigration law in their own jurisdictions, has translated to an increased threat of immigration-related arrests in homes, workplaces, and public spaces.

Since August of this year, Hogar Hispano has been involved in a collaborative effort with other immigrant services organizations in the D.C. metropolitan area to form a rapid response plan to raids carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These agencies, in coming together to dialogue, discovered that the needs of a typical family affected by a raid are far-reaching and cannot be serviced by one agency alone. Certain agencies exhibit strength and capacity for providing legal services throughout a client’s detention process. Others’ mission is to lobby for the interests of Latino immigrants. Still others offer social services and childcare, meet emergency needs for food and shelter, and provide mental health counseling and treatment in response to psychological trauma. The comprehensive needs of a client can only be well-attended if service agencies are in good communication with each other and have access to the most current news and information regarding the political climate.

The first course of action has been to compile a pamphlet of information in English and Spanish which includes advice on how to handle oneself during a raid and before officials. The pamphlet also addresses what to do if detained by immigration and how to locate a loved one who has been detained, and includes contact information for Latin American consulate offices and legal service providers. The goal of the coalition is to disseminate this information far and wide through a “Know Your Rights” outreach campaign in order to empower immigrants with an understanding of their constitutional rights and quell fears that come from ignorance and misinformation about the immigration enforcement practices in place. Hogar Hispano began its educational campaign with a workshop for ESL students and parishioners at Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling in early November. Know Your Rights Workshops were also held at All Saints parish in Manassas and Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge. Community partners who contributed included Fransico Henriquez of Tenants and Workers United, Lisa Johnson-Firth of Immigration and Human Rights Law Group PLLC, and Edgar Arranda of the Virginia Justice Center. Hogar Hispano and Catholic Charities would like to thank these parishes for their gift of space and for providing a safe and trusted environment in which these important issues could be discussed.

To further address in its workshops the fears that immigrants face, Hogar Hispano offers guidance in the creation and implementation of a family emergency plan in households with one or more undocumented adult. For example, to families with children, a detailed plan can be especially vital in ensuring that a trusted family member or friend will assume the role of caregiver for a child who may be left behind. A study commissioned for the Urban Institute by the National Council of La Raza compared three U.S. communities who experienced large-scale workplace raids within the past year in an attempt to analyze the impact of such raids on America’s children. The study found that on average the number of children affected by worksite raids is half the number of adults arrested. National data has shown that two-thirds of these children are U.S. citizens and that a large majority of them are infants, toddlers or pre-schoolers. Children in the study suffered significantly at the sudden disappearance of their parents, “experiencing feelings of abandonment, showing symptoms of emotional trauma, psychological duress and mental health problems.” Hogar Hispano and the coalition of immigrant service agencies acknowledge this as one of the most grave consequences of such enforcement actions, and encourages parents, as well as community organizations, to take steps towards creating stable transitions for these children.

In addition to worries about children, the family emergency plan addresses concerns about the maintenance of immigrants’ financial assets, such as homes and other personal property. The pamphlet includes the recommendation that an immigrant grant power of attorney to a trusted adult to take on this responsibility. More suggestions include storing important identification and documents in a safe place to which multiple people have access, keeping plenty of money in the bank for emergencies, carrying or memorizing important phone numbers, and finding a lawyer who specializes in deportation cases and will take on a case in the event of an individual’s detention.

Hogar Hispano will continue to provide educational opportunities to its students, clients, and the immigrant community in accordance with its mission to welcome the stranger among us. If you believe there is a need for this information in your parish or community and are interested in holding a workshop, please contact Cindy Brown at

You may read the National Council of La Raza study entitled “Paying the Price: the Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children” at

Bits and Pieces

Catholic Charities Hogar Hispano is looking for dedicated individuals to teach ESL classes once a week at one of our 13 locations throughout Northern Virginia. No ESL experience or second language is necessary. We will provide training and material. This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who loves to meet new people and wants to learn more about ESL.

If you or someone you know is interested please contact Sheila Sullivan at or 703-534-9805 x 238.


Help Others To Become U.S. Citizens
Become a part of the citizenship process by volunteering to help fill out U.S. Naturalization applications at Hogar Hispano's Citizenship Workshop. Training is provided at the workshop.
When: December 1, 2007, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm. Stay as long as you can.
Where: Arlington Mill Community Center, 4975 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA
Contact: Diana Gibson, or 703-534-9805 ext. 250
Lunch is provided

Workshops are held every six to eight weeks, so if you can't make this one, look out for the next one.


Holiday Gift Wrapping For Literacy!
It's not even Halloween yet, but we're already talking about the holidays? It's true! The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia will be gift wrapping at local bookstores again this December to raise funds for our educational programs and promote our mission to the community. We have LOTS of shifts available in five different bookstores: Barnes and Noble at Tysons Corner, Borders at Tysons Corner, Borders at Pentagon City, Barnes and Noble at Seven Corners, and Borders at Bailey's Crossroads. This is a great volunteer opportunity to do with your children (all individuals 18 or under must be accompanied by a parent), spouses or significant others, relatives, friends, co-workers, book club members (or other organizations you are a part of)… you name it! Catch the holiday spirit and help out a wonderful cause!

Are you interested in gift wrapping this holiday season? Please contact Belle at or 703-237-0866 x111 for more information. Looking forward to hearing from you!