The Colorado School of English is doing more than just helping foreign students master the complex language of English. It's also teaching them to give back to the communities that help them. As part of the service learning component of the curriculum, students do a volunteer project every twelve weeks; in February, they visited the Grant Avenue Street Reach Soup Kitchen at 1600 Grant Street, close by the school's downtown facility. "They all wrote about their experience volunteering and we received some amazing essays," says Zolo Jones, student services coordinator and academic advisor at the school. "Most of our students have never volunteered in their countries and this concept is somewhat new to them, so this experience made a very positive impression on them."
And on us, when we read their essays, which we're sharing this week.
Here's the essay by Sultan, a student from Saudia Arabia:
Feeling what poor people feel is an important point because that might change our behaviors. It was one of the special days that I have had since I came to the U.S. Helping people in the soup kitchen was a great idea to see how poor people need our support. To begin with, I would like to thank the school for giving the opportunity for all Colorado School of English students to be there. Students learned many lessons from that visit. It is the first step for many of us to start helping poor people in many ways. We saw how they look and what they wore.
Thus, we need to cooperate to help them as much as we can by helping them to find work, giving them the clothes that we don't need, and spending some money to feed them. Lastly, I'm one of those who will begin to help people even if what I can do is only going to the soup kitchen and help other poor people. I realize that some of them have strange behavior, but I think we can deal with them because we know how their lives are difficult.
And one from Thamara, a student from Brazil:
Working as volunteers teaches us unique lessons, and in my opinion not to be egoist and how equal we are independent of social class are the most important lessons.
My experience as a volunteer was awesome. I learned a lot with the elderly people who were working with me. The average age of them was between 70 and 80 years old. Every Monday they go to the church early in the morning to prepare and then serve food to homeless. And what I could learn from the is how not to be an egoist person because although they are elderly people, they were working to keep those who don't have anything in life.
The second lesson was that independent of social class, we are the same. Seeing hungry people touched me a lot. For me, it doesn't matter if the person is a drug user or a sober.
Everybody should have food to eat.
Even though you are afraid of drug users or homeless people, don't ignore the fact that we are the same and as human we need to take care of each other.
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Watch for two more essays tomorrow.