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Community education opportunities

S.C.A.L.E. program to help immigrants learn English

By: Chrysa Keenon | Echo 

Taylor University students and faculty have participated and volunteered in the Students, Children and Adults Language Education (S.C.A.L.E.) programs across the Grant County community. The program strives to prepare young immigrant children for successful school entry in the U.S., to assist in immigrant students in Marion Public Schools with English language needs and to promote adult immigrants’ personal and professional success through one-on-one English language instruction. On Taylor’s campus, it equips international students for academic success through English language support and prepares students for better service through practical English as Second Language (ESL)-related experiences and improved intercultural skills.

Officially launched in 2015 by the faculty of the English Language Teaching department, it was created to allow the students and faculty who participate in the S.C.A.L.E. program to fit all existing ESL classes under one program. There are three ESL tutoring programs through S.C.A.L.E., including on-campus tutoring for international students, ESL tutoring for students in Marion Public Schools and a Marion ESL tutoring center for adults and young children. The three programs are funded uniquely, as the on-campus tutoring is housed in the English Language Teaching department. The ESL tutoring in Marion Public Schools is funded by Taylor World Outreach and grants, while Marion ESL programs are funded through grants and occasional departmental support. Though S.C.A.L.E. has many Taylor ties and is not exclusively a religious outreach, it can provide many ways for students to engage spirituality. 

Taylor student participates in S.C.A.L.E. program with an international student.

“While S.C.A.L.E. is not intended to be an evangelistic program, it allows believers to apply both their faith and a particular set of professional skills to meet dire needs, create opportunities, build relationships and (provide) emotional and spiritual support,” said Renata Kantaruk, director of ESL Tutoring and instructor of the TESOL program. 

According to Kantaruk, there are few ESL programs in Grant County, especially for adults. The program showed senior and tutor Mallory Inniger how difficult it is to interact with the community both in person and in writing without the knowledge of the common language. Inniger has been a tutor with the program for four semesters. Senior Sarah Glett has been a tutor since her freshman year, and though she does not see the impact of her work immediately, she believes the value of the lessons is worth much more.

S.C.A.L.E. stems from Taylor but collaborates with ministries and local nonprofits serving similar populations. According to Kantaruk, there have been positive responses from the community including organizations such as United Way of Grant County, St. Martin’s Community Center, Marion Public Library, Marion Adult Basic Education Program and the TESOL program at Indiana Wesleyan University, among many others.

Class of 2017 graduate Patrick Hubbard expressed that volunteering with S.C.A.L.E. was the best part of his time at Taylor. “Being able to see students so regularly and to feel like an integral part of their lives was an honor and made a huge impact on how I see God calling me to serve those around me.”

Each program has different requirements, with both paid positions and solely volunteer roles. Both students and staff are given multiple opportunities to volunteer and Kantaruk assures no one will be turned away if they wish to participate in the program. Open areas include volunteer tutors, volunteer childcare helpers, program assistants, conversation partners, academic skills tutors and ESL writing tutors. Volunteers on average participate for two to three hours per week. If you are interested in a position, email Renata Kantaruk or the student co-directors of ESL at rnkantaruk@taylor.edu or esl@taylor.edu, respectively.

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