Hogar Hispano E-Nunciations
A 'Zine for ESL Teachers and Volunteers

March 2004
In this issue...

1.    Newsflash:  The Power of Volunteers

2.    Freshta's Story: From Kabul to Washington, DC
3.    Did you know?  PBS Series on Immigrants and Refugees
4.    Upcoming ESL Teacher Trainings
5.    Tip O' the Month:  Let's Go on a Field Trip to the Library
6.    Tell Your Students : Practice English at home with the Speak Out CD! 
7.    Hot Links: ESL Teachers Online Chat, Grammar Links, and Health Literacy
8.    Volunteer Opportunities


Dear Volunteers,

YOU are the backbone of the ESL program!  A
recent study found that more than 80% of nonprofits depend on volunteers for critical activities  -- like teaching ESL!  The study also said that volunteers greatly increase the quality and level of services provided, while helping to reduce organizational costs.  At Hogar Hispano, volunteers teach English, answer phones, find jobs for people, provide legal services, and even manage other volunteers!  We couldn't do it without you.

Thank you for your professional, caring, creative service to the students and to the Hogar!  
Sally O'Dwyer
ESL Coordinator, Hogar Hispano


Freshta's Story: From Kabul to Washington, DC


Just 5 years ago, Freshta Aziz and her family completed their long journey from Islamabad, Pakistan to Lincoln, Nebraska.  Originally from Afghanistan, Freshta is among the millions of refugees who have had to flee their homelands in fear of persecution and violence.  The Aziz family lived in Pakistan 7 years before they were able to come to the U.S. to begin new lives.  When they arrived here in Lincoln, refugee resettlement workers from Catholic Charities met them at the airport, and spent three months helping her family get settled in the US.  The transition was not easy.


"At that time I said, 'Oh my, I wish we had not come here.'  I thought, 'How am I going to fit in?'"  recalls Freshta, which means "Angel" in the Farsi language.  Still, at only 19, she was quick to adjust to her new life in the U.S.  The English she learned in Pakistan eased what can often be a stressful transition to a life vastly different from what she had known.


Since her arrival in the U.S., Freshta has dedicated herself to helping others who have come in search of the American dream.  First as a translator, then as a case aide, she gave back to the refugee resettlement program that helped her get a start here.  After her family moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Freshta began working at Hogar Hispano, a program of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, where she continues to work with immigrants.


At Hogar Hispano, Freshta oversees public education campaign to combat immigration-related employment discrimination.  With a grant from the U.S. government's Office of Special Counsel (OSC), Freshta educates work-authorized immigrants, refugees, and small businesses about fair hiring.  By helping immigrants to recognize employment discrimination in its many guises, she equips them to advocate for themselves to seek assistance in pressing for their rights.  Freshta also helps small business managers to understand their responsibilities under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. 


Recently, two Afghani women sought Freshta's help.  They were unlawfully terminated from their positions of nearly two years at a local fast food restaurant.  The two refugees have I-94 cards issued by Immigration, showing their refugee status and permission to work.  The employer did not recognize the I-94 as a valid work authorization document, so he terminated the two women from their jobs.  Both women had an expired work authorization card (even though refugees are not required to have a such a card in the first place - their I-94 alone shows permission to work.)  Luckily, Freshta was able to intervene.  She spoke with the employer, provided them with information about the law and explained to them the rights of those who have been granted refugee status.  After two days, the women were asked to return to their jobs. 


They were overjoyed:  "We are so happy that there is a law that protects immigrants when they need help.  It's so good to talk to someone in our own language and have our problem solved."


Those are the days that remind Freshta why she loves her job.  After finishing her degree, she plans to continue serving immigrants and refugees.  Her long-term goal is to return to Afghanistan to start an organization that will help the Afghani people, particularly women.


Now in its second year working with the Office of Special Counsel, Hogar Hispano continues to reach out to the community.  Freshta encourages immigrants who believe they have been discriminated against to call her office (703-534-9805, ext. 241), or the Office of Special Counsel (1-800-255-7688).  Employers can also call if they have questions about hiring immigrant workers.  Services are free, confidential, and staff are available to speak to clients in their native languages. 


Did you know?  PBS Series on Immigrants and Refugees

THE NEW AMERICANS airs March 22, 23, & 24 at 9 p.m. on WETA TV 26
What does the "American dream" look like through the eyes of today's immigrants and refugees? From Nigeria, India, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, they come with different dreams: to achieve athletic glory or high-tech riches, to escape poverty and persecution, to provide for their families. This
seven-hour, three-part series follows these newcomers from each of their homelands through their first tumultuous years in America. For more information go to www.pbs.org/newamericans

MY JOURNEY HOME airs April 7 at 9 p.m. on WETA TV 26
America can be a fractured place - society splintered by skin color, religion, country of origin, native tongue, immigrant versus native, citizen versus non-citizen. One of our great preoccupations has been to mend these fissures while defining our uniquely American cultural identity. "My Journey Home" traverses the landscape of cultural identity through new American voices. For more information go to


ESL Teacher Training and Education Opportunities 


Hogar Ice Cream Social: Sunday, March 21, 2-4 pm at the Hogar, 6201 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church Come enjoy fabulous make-your-own sundaes and learn how to jazz up your ESL classes with music!  RSVP to sodwyer@ccda.net  

ESL Basics: Friday, March 12, 6 - 9 pm and Saturday, March 13, 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
This two-day workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the specialized knowledge needed to teach ESL.  If you haven't had a chance to attend a Hogar ESL Boot Camp, we highly recommend that you attend this training.  Participants will discuss ways to teach speaking, listening, reading, and writing; practice lesson planning; and share ideas with colleagues.  Free.  Registration Required by calling Molly McHarg at 703-228-8020 or email her at
mmcharg@arlington.k12.va.us.  Training held at the Clarendon Education Center, 2801 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 218 in Arlington.  Dinner provided Friday evening.

American University TESOL Program
Spring Conference: April 17, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Summer Institute: May 10 - August 12
For more information, go to

Verizon Literacy University Courses Online
The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and ProLiteracy Worldwide are pleased to announce the addition of three new courses to Verizon Literacy University:

* Volunteering in English Language Learner Literacy Classes
* Culture and English Language Learners
* Citizenship: What Volunteers Need to Know

VLU is entirely free and available to anyone with an internet connection.  Most courses can be completed in 30 to 45 minutes. For additional information about Verizon Literacy University, visit www.vluonline.org

Tip O' the Month:   We're Going on a Field Trip to the Library

Encourage students to take advantage of the resources available at the library by planning a field trip to your local library branch.  A simple phone call to the library can set your class up with a tour of the facility highlighting ESL materials, and can often be done in the students' first language if needed.  You can even arrange to have students fill out library card applications together in class before the visit, then pick up the cards during the tour.  You could even create a library scavenger hunt by giving your intermediate/advanced students an assignment to look up information at the library.  Be sure to plan your visit in advance so the students will be prepared.

Tell Your Students:  Practice English at home with the Speak Out CD!

The first skill we use when we learn a second language is listening.  Using audio equipment such as CDs or tapes can really help new students of English, especially for low-level students who may have trouble reading and writing.  Your beginning students who use Hogar's Speak Out in English text can reinforce lessons learned in class by practicing with the Speak Out CD or cassette.  Both CD and cassette contain the vocabulary and dialogues from the text, and can be purchased for $10.  Contact Sally or your site coordinator to get students a copy of the Speak Out CD/cassette.

You might also try using a tape recorder in class.  Have students record conversations.  When they listen to the tape, they can hear their own successes and mistakes.  Have students work in groups to prepare a presentation or dialogue to record on tape, then play it back for the class.  If you need a tape recorder for your site, contact Sally.

Hot Links


Join the ESL Teachers' List- Serv

ESOL teachers in Virginia now have their own electronic mailing list - a "listserv" in cool jargon.  It's called VAESOL-Chat. Through it you can discuss and share all your questions, worries, challenges, and achievements with other teachers around the state.  Occasionally ESOL experts will lead us in a discussion of your choice. We will be asking you what you would like to chat about.

How can you sign up?  Click onto our home page at www.aelweb.vcu.edu/ and scroll down to the bottom and just fill in your name and email address.
Thanks to Nancy Faux at VCU's Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center for connecting us with teachers around the state!

English Grammar Links for ESL Students

This site provides links to other grammar reference sites, exercises and quizzes. Students can take the quizzes for practice at home or at the library.  Teachers can print out the quizzes and activities to use as worksheets in class.

Looking for health-related materials and curricula that teach basic skills?
The Health & Literacy Collection site, www.worlded.org/us/health/lincs/, is for teachers, students, health educators, or anyone interested in teaching health to people with limited literacy skills. You may also want to try www.cal.org/ncle/healthlithtm from The National Center for ESL Literacy Education. The site contains a number of resources on health literacy for English language learners, an ERIC Q&A on health literacy and adult English language learners, and an annotated bibliography of health literacy resources. There is also a series of picture stories created by Kate Singleton to help teachers address health topics for beginner and low-literacy.
[World Education, Inc., maintains the Health & Literacy Special Collection site with funding from the National Institute for Literacy LINCS project. NCLE is housed at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), a non-profit organization located in Washington, DC. Thanks to the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center for this information.]

Volunteer Opportunities

Adult ESL Teachers
Training provided, no experience or second language required.  Commitment of 3 hours/week (evenings, weekdays, and weekend times available).   Need teachers weekdays in Arlington/Falls Church, and Saturdays in Burke.  Please fill out the online application by clicking here.  Contact Ginny at gcallahan@ccda.net.

Help Others to Become U.S. Citizens
Volunteers needed to help fill out U.S. Naturalization applications at this Citizenship Workshop.  Training provided.   March 13, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.  Held at Arlington Mill Community Center, 4975 Columbia Pike, Arlington.  Contact Esmael Husseini at 703-534-9805, ext. 237 or ehusseini@ccda.net.  Workshops held every 6-8 weeks, so if you can't make it to this one, look out for the next one.

Hogar Hispano is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to immigrants of all nationalities and religions.  As part of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, Hogar Hispano helps newcomers achieve self-sufficiency and successfully integrate into American society by offering a wide range of services at little or no cost.  Hogar Hispano offers English as a Second Language classses, legal counseling and representation, naturalization assistance, and social services.

Let us know your thoughts!

Sally O'Dwyer, ESL Coordinator

Ginny Callahan, Assoc. ESL Coordinator

Leslie Buckley, AGAPE Job Hotline Developer and ESL Trainer

Hogar Hispano
6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 307
Falls Church, Va. 22044
Ph. 703-534-9805, ext. 222
Fax 703-534-9809

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