SPEAKing of Success…

2014-2015 Issue 2

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Members of the MCLL (McGill Community for Lifelong Learning) and students of IELC and IFLC (Intensive English and French language courses) gathered to honour those who served and continue to serve as volunteers in the SPEAK and Brainy Bar programs. Participants met over lunch and cake to celebrate both programs, which are run by volunteers.

“It’s been a huge success,” says Sandra Frisbee, who has served as SPEAK’s volunteer coordinator for the past four years. “It brings so much to the volunteers – as much to us as it does to the students. It’s developed into friendships; I still keep in contact with a past student through Skype, and she’s in Turkey.”

Sandra’s not the only one who developed a friendship with her conversation partner; former IELC student Amna Amar and longtime MCLL member Jackie Yarosky had been past partners in the SPEAK program, and were still keeping the conversation exchange going during the celebratory lunch.

“This is the best thing I did here,” says Amna Amar, who completed the the IELC program and will soon be studying for her Master’s degree in Montreal. “My husband wants to go to [Jackie’s] house to practice too.”

“It’s a wonderful program,” said Jackie. “It’s a great way for newcomers to get a better idea of Montreal and Canada, and to have someone who’s not just talking about grammar.” And it’s a fun learning experience for Jackie as well:  “I think I get more out of it then they do. I’ve been doing it for a few years, and it becomes a culture exchange. We talk about anything and everything.”

“I appreciate all our volunteers,” said Sandra. “Sometimes they don’t think they’re making a difference, but trust me, they are.”

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