October 2005


  1. Sally's Ramblings
  2. Hogar Hispano Presents Fall 2005 Volunteer Training Series
  3. High School Interns Make a Difference
  4. U.S. Bishops Support Immigration Reform
  5. Ghastly Games for Halloween
  6. Volunteer and Paid Job Opportunities
  7. Bits and Pieces
  8. Montage: Celebrating Our Students' Successes
  9. About Us

Sally's Ramblings

Dear Volunteers,

The staff here at Hogar Hispano HQ sends you best wishes for a terrific semester. This semester has gotten off to an awesome start. The learning is under way! We enjoyed meeting many of you new volunteers at the recent Boot Camps.

During the next couple of months, the ESL staff hopes to make it out to all of the sites to see everyone in action. Our volunteer site coordinators report to us that classes are going very well. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. We are truly humbled by your willingness to sacrifice your free time. Thank you for helping those in need.

I hope that everyone has the opportunity to celebrate Halloween in the classroom with your students. Have fun and play some games. Halloween candy make great prizes. Next month, you can celebrate Thanksgiving too.

Please sign up for one or more of the upcoming trainings Hogar Hispano is offering this fall. Come to learn practical skills and meet other wonderful volunteers.

Thanks again for all that you do. Have a happy Hogar Halloween!

Sally O’Dwyer
ESL Program Coordinator

Hogar Hispano Presents Fall 2005 Volunteer Training Series

Jim Kenny, one of Hogar Hispano's bravest volunteers, can attest to how fun our trainings are!

Please come to our ESL trainings this semester! Trainings are a fantastic opportunity to get great tips on spicing up your classes and meet other terrific volunteers like you. These classes will count towards the 10-hour training requirement. All sessions are held at Hogar Hispano (6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 307, Falls Church, VA 22044). If you plan to attend the sessions in October, you must RSVP to Phil Spencer at 703-534-9805 x243 or pspencer@ccda.net. For the rest of the sessions, please RSVP to Belle Peñaranda at 703-534-9805 x239 or bpenaranda@ccda.net. RSVP today! Seats are limited!

Wednesday, October 12, 7-9 pm
Go Interactive!
Trainer: Sally O’Dwyer
Increase students’ language participation in the classroom! Learn how you can make your classes more dynamic, participatory, collaborative and cooperative by using strategies and activities that get your students talking.

Saturday, October 22, 9-11 am
Chart Magic
Trainer: Christine Roach
What’s the big deal about charts, anyway? PLENTY. Discover how to use charts in class to concoct conversation, community and cooperative learning. The best part is that they’re incredibly simple and fun to do!

Saturday, November 5, 12:30-2:30 pm
Community Building in the Classroom
Trainer: Phil Spencer
This session will focus on creating a community within the classroom by teaching in a non-traditional, student-centered environment that makes students feel “safe” and leads to more peer-to-peer interaction.

Saturday, November 19, 9-11 am
Seeing Light Bulbs: Helping Your Students Get It
Trainer: Belle Peñaranda
Learn tried-and-true techniques for giving an effective presentation to your ESL students! The presentation is your time to shine in the lesson plan, so make it good. These 12 tips are simple, yet so valuable in helping your lessons click with students.

Saturday, December 10, 9 am-3 pm
ESL Boot Camp
Trainers: Sally O’Dwyer, Phil Spencer, Belle Peñaranda

Experience how we put the “fun” in function while teaching ESL with flair. We’ll also be teaching you how to create an effective lesson plan, some creative ways to teach grammar, how to incorporate participation and all sorts of other useful tips. Lunch is provided.

Wednesday, December 14, 7-9 pm
Civics in the ESL Classroom
Trainer: Jodi Nemser-Abrahams
For many of today’s immigrants, citizenship seems like an unobtainable dream. For others, living in the United States without a basic understanding of government and individual rights can impede their ability to succeed. Learn how to integrate these important topics into your ESL classroom and receive information about available resources.

High School Interns Make a Difference

Instead of hanging out, watching television, or playing video and computer games, three high school teenagers decided to make a difference last summer: they interned at Catholic Charities Hogar Hispano to serve the immigrant community in Northern Virginia.

Before the summer began, the teenage interns were carefully selected. The teens completed applications, provided letters of recommendation from their teachers, and interviewed with staff before being placed in Hogar’s ESL program.

The interns were rising juniors Daniel Andrino, Kathleen O’Dwyer, and David Leon from Thomas Jefferson, Bishop O’Connell and Washington International High Schools, respectively. Each provided 10-20 hours of assistance every week during their tenure with the office. Their length of stay depended on their availability. All three made significant contributions in their own way.

Not just a mindless internship that looks good on a college application, the Hogar internship offered the three students both a variety of office work experiences and meaningful contact with our immigrant students. And these teens worked hard! To help prepare the program for fall registration of ESL classes, they designed, copied and mailed thousands flyers to potential students and immigrant service providers in the community. Using their Spanish language skills, the interns answered phones and manned the front desk. Each high schooler also worked side by side with staff in pre-testing and placing students into the appropriate class level, as well as assisting in the classroom. The interns were particularly effective in working one-on-one with students who were learning to use a computer.

Daniel, Kathleen and David helped the office prepare for a financial audit by conducting book inventory, cleaning up the office and organizing files. They helped prepare for volunteer trainings, sent out certificates and entered information into a student database. The high schoolers helped recognize volunteers by creating and producing holiday volunteer appreciation cards. They also mailed out postcards to remind former students to come back to class for the fall semester, which proved very effective.

While working for Hogar, the interns learned that even though they are teenagers, they have much to offer those in need. They learned how an office works, experienced what life inside a non-profit is like, and saw firsthand what teaching is all about. Of her teaching stint, Kathleen said, “It brought me face to face with the people who I’m helping, and reminded me of my own attempts to learn Spanish. It’s interesting to see people that can hardly speak a language that I know so well, and throws into perspective some of the things that I take for granted. I’m glad that I was able to help them to better understand English.”

Aside from the invaluable work that the interns accomplished over the summer, the interns’ youthful enthusiasm and determination to do good work was an inspiration to the staff at Hogar. The interns’ creativity, fresh perspectives and desire to serve was a breath of fresh air for the entire office, and the staff at Hogar Hispano looks forward to working closely with high school interns once again next summer.

U.S. Bishops Support Immigration Reform
By Bob Ashdown, Hogar Hispano volunteer

I enjoy the lesson, "Working for the Future," in the beginning ESL text (Speak Out in English), because it gives me a chance to get to know my students better. I hear about how hard they work, many times without benefits, to provide for themselves and their families. I think the Spirit has used what the students share with me as well as what I have learned about my own immigrant heritage to nudge me to get more involved politically in immigrant issues.

A bipartisan group of Senators and Congressmen has introduced legislation, The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005, to reform our immigration system. Bishop Gerald R. Barnes, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, expressed support for the draft legislation. He believes that it best reflects principles for immigration reform set forth by the United States bishop. You can add your voice to that of our bishops by encouraging your elected representatives to support The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S. 1033 in the Senate and H 2330 in the House).

In my town of Herndon, a coalition of faith-based and civic groups called Project Hope & Harmony has proposed the establishment of a formal day labor site for immigrants seeking work, which the town council has since approved. The site will provide day workers job placement, training and linkages to related services, and a more hospitable environment than available at the informal sites where day laborers congregate today. It will also deter employers from taking advantage of the workers, many of whom are here illegally and have no recourse today when subjected to unjust treatment.

To learn more about the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005, please visit the
Bishop's Conference Migration and Refugee Services website.

Ghastly Games for Halloween

Here are some fun ideas to use during the month of October:

Some students may have customs similar to Halloween in their country. For example, Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead in the fall. Comparing the two holidays can make for an interesting discussion in low to intermediate classes.

Use Halloween to teach “feeling” words. Talk about different feelings, using pictures. Then have students draw a face that represents a particular feeling, and then explain it to the class. They could draw their faces onto a blank pumpkin handout or an actual miniature pumpkin.

Use page 276 in your Speak Out in English textbook.

Teach some Halloween vocabulary, including verbs and nouns. Then, in small groups, give students three Halloween words and tell them to make up a story including all three words. It might help to brainstorm as a class before breaking up into groups. They should talk about the story as a group, write it down, and share it with the class when they are finished.

Talk about different Halloween costumes and the custom of trick-or-treating. Write the costume words down on index cards. Give each student a card. Using a simple dialogue like the one below, have students pretend to trick-or-treat, then switch cards and do it again!
“Trick or treat!”
“Who are you?”
“I’m a [insert costume word].”

Celebrate! Dress up and bring in some candy corn or other treats.

Volunteer and Paid Job Opportunities

Volunteer Positions:

The ESL department is looking for 1-2 dedicated volunteers to coordinate the hugely successful Sunday and Tuesday/Thursday classes at St. Rita's in Alexandria. No ESL experience is necessary-- but it's helpful if you're bilingual and very organized! This is a perfect opportunity for someone who loves to meet new people and wants to get their feet wet in ESL. Please contact Belle at 703-534-9805 x239 or at

Like playing with numbers? Come hang out with the ESL staff at the Falls Church HQ and help us get our very first student database off the ground. We ask for a commitment of 4 hours a week during the daytime. No previous experience necessary. Please contact Sally at 703-534-9805 x222 or at sodwyer@ccda.net.

Paid Positions:

Citizenship Now! Site Coordinator
STATUS: Part-time (20 hours/week)
Hogar Hispano, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the immigrant community, seeks a dynamic, multi-talented individual to oversee citizenship-based English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Primary responsibilities include: managing volunteer teachers, substitute teaching, monitoring classes and providing instructor student support. Hours will be Monday-Friday from 5:00-9:00 PM and occasional weekends.

1. Observe, assess and support volunteer instructors
2. Collaborate with the ESL team to train volunteer teachers
3. Communicate with teachers on a daily basis and hold bimonthly program evaluation meetings
4. Solicit student feedback to assess satisfaction with the program and its relevancy to students' lives
5. Substitute for volunteer teachers when necessary
6. Lead class field trips to locations such as the National Mall and National Archives
7. Provide individualized support to students prior to their citizenship exam
8. Attend monthly citizenship workshops sponsored by Hogar Hispano
9. Enter, calculate and report program statistics
10. Other duties as deemed necessary

How to Apply:
Please e-mail, fax or mail your cover letter and resume to Sally O'Dwyer.
Fax: (703)534-9809
E-mail: sodwyer@ccda.net
Mail: Hogar Hispano
6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 307
Falls Church, VA 22044

Bits and Pieces

Fall Fashion Tip: Buy a Hogar Hispano T-shirt!
Promote the Hogar Hispano ESL program and make a fashion statement at the same time! Here are just some reasons why you should order one (or fifty!):

The T-shirt is 100% cotton and reads, "Hogar Hispano: Serving the Immigrant Community" and comes in small, medium or large. The cost is a measly $7 (plus $3 shipping)-- get one today! Send an e-mail to bpenaranda@ccda.net with your name, T-shirt size, and quantity needed or simply call 703-534-9805 x239.

Other Training Opportunities

ESOL Basics
Presented by REEP (Arlington Education and Employment Program)
Friday, October 28, 2005, 6-9 pm
Saturday, October 29, 2005, 9:30 am-1:30 pm
ESOL Basics is a two-day workshop (Friday and Saturday) that provides a comprehensive overview of the specialized knowledge needed to teach ESL. Participants will discuss issues in second-language learning; learn ways to teach speaking, listening, reading, and writing; practice lesson planning; and share ideas with colleagues.
To register, call Jennifer Fadden at (703) 228-7231 or e-mail jfadden@arlington.k12.va.us

Techniques for Working with Multilevel Classes
Presented by REEP (Arlington Education and Employment Program)
Saturday, October 29, 2005, 9:30 am-1:30 pm
In this workshop, hands-on activities that will help you plan for and manage a multilevel class will be demonstrated.
To register, call Jennifer Fadden at (703) 228-7231 or e-mail jfadden@arlington.k12.va.us

WATESOL Fall Convention
Saturday, October 22, 2005, 8:30 am-5:30 pm
The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.
Pre-registration rates: WATESOL Members, $35; Nonmember $45; Volunteers $20
To obtain a registration form, click here.

Montage: Celebrating Students' Successes

Photos (clockwise, from top left): 1. Students from the summer session proudly display their certificates of achievement. 2. Volunteers, students, and ESL staff see how low they can go at an end-of-class party. 3. Citizenship students pose with their teachers in front of the Capitol during a celebration field trip. 4. Mario, a citizenship class student, shows off his new naturalization certificate.

We want pictures of you and your students! See them in the next edition of E-news. Please send them to

About Us

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 classes, legal counseling and representation, naturalization assistance, job placement services, and social services.

We want to know what you think! Thank you for reading!

Nancy Jane Shestack, Hogar Hispano Director

Sally O'Dwyer, ESL Coordinator
sodwyer@ccda.net, x222

Jodi Nemser-Abrahams, Citizenship Now! Grant Manager
jnemser@ccda.net, x235

Belle Penaranda, Associate ESL Coordinator
bpenaranda@ccda.net, x239

Christine Roach, English Literacy/Civics Grant Manager
croach@ccda.net, x238

Phil Spencer, Associate ESL Coordinator, 9/11
pspencer@ccda.net, x243

Hogar Hispano
6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 307
Falls Church, VA 22044
Fax: 703-534-9809

If you would like to have this newsletter sent to a different e-mail address,
or if you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an e-mail to bpenaranda@ccda.net.