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Thursday, March 26, 2015

CU Immigration TV: Public Access Radio and Television for Community Service Learning


by Ann Abbott

When you think of your students doing oral presentations, do you automatically assume that you'll have them prepare PowerPoint slides about a topic, stand at the front of the class, give the presentation to you and the classmates, then maybe quiz them on the content?

You don't have to do it that way, you know.

As I've written here many times before, it's popular to talk about using authentic language and authentic resources in the language classroom. I'm all for that, too. But I'm also very interested in some things that I don't hear people talk about:

  • Authentic purpose. Giving our students something to do in our courses that is not just a learning exercise, a hoop to jump through. (Which is not to say that our students aren't learning a lot when they do these academic exercises for the purpose of getting a grade. Yes, they do. But they could learn more. Learn differently.) So, for example, one semester my student's final exam was to create five "pins" on our Pinterest board so that they could provide relevant information to next semester's students. To give them a kind of "leg up" on what they needed to know to succeed in the course. Yes, they were graded on their pins. But they were also creating the pins so that they could help next semester's students.
  • Authentic audience. The students who sit in the classroom and listen to the other students' oral presentations aren't there because they're inherently interested in the topic or the speaker. They're there because they signed up for the course. What if that student standing up there presented the information to someone who needed it? Who had an inherent interest in the topic?
We have a wonderful Independent Media Center in downtown Urbana, Illinois. We have public access radio and television shows going on there often. 

Do you have one in your town? 

Could your students present on one of those shows? Even if it is in English, could they develop expertise (in Spanish) in your course, then share it with a wider audience?

The video at the top features students from a graduate course in urban planning, given by Prof. Stacy Harwood.

My student Alli Gattari and I recently went on the show, too. (I'll post the video when it is available.) Alli was a natural! She truly came off as an expert in Spanish in the Community and particularly about unaccompanied migrants in our town.

Give it a thought. You might be nervous. Your students might be nervous. But they will share their information with an authentic audience. With an authentic purpose.

Intercultural Competence: Darla Deardorff at Illinois' Faculty Retreat

by Ann Abbott

For years I have been reading Darla Deardorff's work on intercultural competence. That's why I was so excited to see that she was going to be the keynote speaker at this year's campus-wide Faculty Retreat.

In languages, we're always thinking about and working with intercultural competence (or transcultural competence, as the MLA 2007 Special Report called it). However, other disciplines and the university as a whole have begun to give it much more thought, especially because of the increasing numbers of international students on campus. So this was a wonderful occasion to bring campus-level focus to an issue that I (and others in languages) care deeply about.

She provided a very helpful handout to us, and I'll share here some of my notes as well as information from the handouts.

Myths about intercultural competence (handout)


  1. Students fluent in another language are interculturaly competent.
  2. Intercultural competence means mostly learning about others' cultures.
  3. One class, reading, lecture, or workshop is sufficient for addressing intercultural competence.
  4. Send students abroad and they'll come back interculturaly competent.
  5. Intercultural competence can be measured by one assessment tool.
In thinking about incorporating this into my teaching, I would translate these five myths into Spanish and use them as a warm-up, asking students to write true/false.

Models of intercultural competence (handout)

  1. Allport (1954): Contact Hypothesis. She said that this model was old, but still very relevant.
  2. Bennet (1993): Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. (At the link, toggle back and forth between Bennet's model and Deardorff's model.) She pointed out that at Stage 6 of this model (Integration), she sees an increasing number of students/youth who are Third Culture Kids (TCK), also known as Global Nomads.
  3. Deardorff (2009): Intercultural Competence Framework. (Again, toggle back and forth to see this model which is also pictured below.) 
She emphasized that empathy and cultural humility are even more important than intercultural "skills."

Intercultural Competence: Self-Reflection

The handout included a nice sheet with 15 items (e.g., tolerance for ambiguity, culture-specific knowledge) that one should rate themselves on. Then you're asked to talk about them in concrete experience. This was from Building Cultural Competence by Berardo & Deardorff, Stylus, 2012.

From the same book, she also gave us a list of reflection questions about interculturally competent teaching with a helpful bibliography.

My notes

Here are a few notes I took.
  • She used the example of people born with sunglasses. If you are born with yellow sunglasses (and so is everyone else around you), then you see someone with blue sunglasses, if you ask them if you can put them on, then what color will you see? Green. Not blue. Green. (Metaphor for culture and our own cultural filters.)
  • She said that we should not live by the Golden Rule, but rather by the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.
  • When you assess intercultural competence, you must ask what is the evidence of student success in developing ICC? Then ask: what would employers say is evidence? This is an example of ICC being measured and assessed differently by various stakeholders, not just us as educators.

Implications for Assessing Intercultural Competence (handout)

  1. Use existing lit to define the concept of intercultural competence.
  2. Go beyond self report tools to assess ICC.
  3. Focus on process, not results.
  4. Intercultural learning involves a multimethod, multiperspective assessment process.
  5. ICC is about students learning to think and act interculturally.

Brainstorm

We were asked to leave notes on the table with our take-aways and
  • Two action steps: 1) Put this as a learning objective on my syllabi. 2) Include ICC literature as a reading or exam item in my courses.
  • One burning question: For me, the question is about ethics. What is it imperative that we teach ICC? If we don't, I feel that we are being unethical as educators and as a university. We have an ethical obligation to try to prevent the next Ferguson, to enhance understanding about Palestine, to engage students in the cultural perspectives of all marginalized groups. If we don't, what will happen to our world?

Language Departments: Creating a Community of Practice with and for Students

Darcy Lear, me and Kristina Medina at St. Olaf.
by Ann Abbott

I had such a wonderful visit at St. Olaf College last week. Darcy Lear and I were invited there to share with their language students and Romance Languages (French and Spanish) faculty about the combination of professional development and language curricula. As usual, I took away more than I gave.

First, I'd like to mention just some of the wonderful faculty we met:
  1. Prof. Wendy Allen, Chair, was a lovely host. Both Darcy and I felt that we had met our third musketeer. She was forward-looking in all respects, yet grounded as well. What a terrific combination. I loved hearing about the "J term" course that she and her husband coordinate in both Paris and Morocco. (I ran home and told my daughter, who loves math, about the geometry course Wendy's husband teaches using the tile patterns in Arabic architecture. That would have been a math course even I could have enjoyed.) Finally, Wendy is an expert in content-based instruction, something near and dear to my heart as an LSP educator.
  2. I have to give a huge shout-out to Assistant Professor Kristina Medina Vilariño. Kristina was a graduate student here at Illinois, and I admired her teaching and her critical thinking about many social as well as literary issues. I enjoy her posts on Facebook, which is how we had stayed in touch until this recent visit. 
  3. Prof. Gwen Barnes-Karol is one of the most passionate and committed language educators I have met. I first met her at the 2014 LSP conference in Boulder, Colorado where she gave a keynote talk. Just a few months later, I saw her again at the AATSP conference in Panama. So it was great to see her in her element and observe in action the curricular ideas she presented in her keynote.
  4. I was also taken by Associate Professor Maggie Broner because of her energy, innovative spirit and creative courses. She incorporates design think and enivronmental sustainability into her teaching in very interesting ways--ways that I would like to copy!
  5. Everyone, just everyone we met was a delight.
So now I'll list some of the things that I took away from the wonderful things they do in their department.

Content from the beginning, language until the end

This was a phrase that rolled off everyone's tongue. They do it. They believe it. They do content-based teaching in the basic language program, and they provide language scaffolding in all their courses. I love it! This eliminates one of the biggest problems in departments: the gulf between basic language courses--which take a "random scattering" approach to content--and the upper level courses that seem to think that students are acquiring language just because they are reading a literary text--that they might or might not understand.

Community of Practice

Students have to participate in a "community of practice;" in other words, they need to attend events that enhance their coursework. The faculty likened it to the music program at St. Olaf (which is huge!) which tells students that they are expected to participate in the life of music around the campus--concerts, recitals, theater, etc.--as part of their music education. They have pink cards that get stamped/punched at each event. French and Spanish tell their students the same thing. I love this idea and would love to do it here at Illinois.

Student Learning Goals

The entire college developed a set of clear goals--a flower with eight petals--for student learning: STOGoals. All of those goals make a lot of sense to me. They describe my feelings about a liberal arts education in very clear language.
They also provide a "map" where professors and students can move from general goals (e.g., "Responsible engagement") to specific activities (e.g., Spanish community service learning would be one) in many areas of student life.
This kind of map facilitates good planning and assessment. I also think that it would make for a good in-class activity or reflective essay: fill in the chart with specific examples of your experiences; or, walk around the room and get the signatures of students who have experienced this in their time at college.

Then at the program level, their intended learning outcomes are specific and focused, too. The French major, for example, focuses on three elements. Students will demonstrate:
  1. Language proficiency.
  2. Textual competence.
  3. Interaction within a community of practice.

Cooperation with the Career Center

Both Darcy and I were blown away by the professionalism and range of resources offered to St. Olaf students and departments by the Piper Center. Talk about feeling envious! It was a top-notch career center with valuable online and face-to-face resources. Browse through the Piper Center for Vocation and Career's website. You'll see many resources that open to all and pertinent to students at any college. Could you use any of those resources with your students? Could you build a lesson plan around the questions, templates and links they provide?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Student Reflection


by Annette Popernik

Entre los tres pisos

Mi preparatoria era chica, era de un piso y de forma cuadrada. Al entrar a la Preparatoria Champaign Central, me quedé asombrada. Era gigantesca, de tres pisos. Encontrar la entrada adecuada fue difícil pero al entrar a la oficina de Lorena Rodríguez, algo más que el tamaño de la escuela me dejo asombrada. En el escritorio de Lorena había una placa que decía “Secretaria Bilingüe.” Esa placa debería de decir mucho más. Al ver la placa, yo al inicio pensé que ella era la persona que se comunicaba con los padres cuando tenía que mandarles información. Pensaba que tal cual solo servía de traductora. Al conocer a los padres y los niños que llegaron a la oficina para las conferencias de los padres y los maestros y verlos interactuar con Lorena, me di cuenta del papel que Lorena realmente tiene.

Otros voluntarios y yo estábamos sentados en la oficina porque ese día seríamos traductores para los padres y los maestros con quienes platicarían. Entre esos tres pisos, no me imaginaba cuantos hispanos había, pero los había. Lorena era la secretaria pero también la persona que motiva y que es una aliada para los estudiantes y sus padres. Yo estaba muy emocionada para ayudarles a los padres y poder traducirles lo que les decían los maestros y viceversa. Me encanta ayudar a los demás hispanos. También sería muy buena práctica para las traducciones que hago con La Línea. Pero de lo que no me di cuenta es del gran ejemplo que es Lorena y cuanto ella me enseñó a través de su ejemplo en cómo trabajar con los hispanos en la comunidad.

Al regresar de las conferencias con los maestros, Lorena platicaba con los padres y los estudiantes que habían asistido. Ellos le contaban lo que los maestros les habían dicho y ella reaccionaba con consejos y formas de ayudar a los estudiantes. La mayoría de los estudiantes hablaban muy bien el inglés, no necesitaban ayuda con eso. A veces era tan simple como recomendarles platicar con la trabajadora social o tenerla a ella como apoyo para platicar. Ella ayuda académicamente en el sentido que los maestros pueden darle la tarea a Lorena para que ella se asegure de que los estudiantes la hagan. Si no, ella puede llamarles a los padres. Me di cuenta que los padres y los estudiantes especialmente eran muy honestos y abiertos con ella. Ella ha establecido un nivel de confianza por su trato con cariño y su forma de apoyar a los padres y los estudiantes.  A través de esto, ha logrado que confíen en ella.  Recuerdo como una estudiante se fue diciéndole, “La quiero Lorena.” En la prepa, los estudiantes rara vez le dicen eso a los miembros académicos.

Lorena hace más que traducir. Ella motiva a los estudiantes, les habla en confianza, y se ríe con ellos pero es seria y firme cuando se necesita serlo. Durante la mañana, fui cambiando la manera de ayudar a los padres. No solo serví de traductora. Durante las conferencias, les ayudaba de otra forma, haciendo preguntas a los maestros para poder encontrar la manera más eficaz para ayudarles a los estudiantes. Contestaba las preguntas de los padres si tenían preguntas sobre el sistema universitario entre otras cosas. Aprendí que cuando somos traductores, en La Línea, en las prepas, o en cualquier lugar, tenemos un papel muy importante. Claro que traducimos del inglés al español y viceversa, pero hay algo más importante. Tenemos que apoyarlos, motivarlos, y enseñarles que ellos mismos pueden, que aunque nosotros seamos los que traducimos, ellos tienen el poder dentro de ellos mismos para avanzar. Aprendí esto entre los tres pisos de Central de una secretaria que probablemente nunca será reconocida a nivel mundial, pero esos estudiantes y esos padres nunca la olvidarán. 

Día a día: a Spanish textbook that presents Latin American Street Art

by Ann Abbott
Your students will enjoy street art examples.
When you think of street art, what do you think of?

Do you think of Banksy, who is famous world-wide? (Here's a short video in Spanish about Bansky.)

Do you think of graffiti? That word has both positive and negative connotations. Which way do you feel about it? (Here's a short video in Spanish about "El arte de ser grafitero.")

Do you think of tagging? When you see word-based graffiti with a special signature, do you think that's art? Or do you think it's blight?

Perhaps a more important questions is: what do your students think about street art? I bet that your students are already aware of street art, especially Banksy. And even if they aren't, the creativity of street art, its brevity, and its ability to pack a punch with simple images is very appealing to people of all ages.

That's why we included a video in Día a día about street art in Costa Rica: ¨El arte callejero convierte la ciudad en galería¨. You can find it in Chapter 5, p. 210. (The video is accessible online.)

Extra resources

On Pinterest you can find hundreds of images of street art from around the world. But you don't have to search for them yourself. I follow Catherine Maudet (@maudetboo), and she has a wonderful Pinterest board titled "Street art-gustos míos." 


How could you use this resource?
  • For the class warm-up, quickly flash through some of the images then ask students what adjectives they would use to describe them. Or flash through five images, and ask students to tell you which one was their favorite (they tell you the number).
  • As previewing activity, ask students to group images into two categories and then explain the impact: universal messages versus location-specific messages; black and white images versus color; images that incorporate an environmental element (a hole in the bricks, peeling paint, fire hydrant, tree, shadow, etc.) versus those that don't.
  • As a post-viewing activity, ask students to scan the images for inspiration then look carefully around the classroom (or outside of it if you can take your students out), and think about original images that would be relevant to their learning space.
Have fun with it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Extra volunteer opportunities

Are you on track to get 28 hours?
by Ann Abbott

Sometimes students need extra opportunities to get their 28 hours during the semester. Here are some extra opportunities.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Dear Dr. Abbott,

We are once again in need of volunteers to help with Spanish translating during our parent teacher conferences next month.  Last semester your student’s help was a godsend.

I am hoping you can help us out again this semester?  Our conferences are Thursday, March 19th from 5:00p to 8:00p and Friday, March 20th from 8:00a to 12:00p.  If you know anyone who might be interested in helping, please have them email be at stratejo@champaignschools.org or call me at 217-351-3911. 

Thank you in advance for ANY assistance you can send my way!

Joanie Strater

Joan I. Strater
Main Office Secretary
Champaign Central High School
(217) 351-3911

(217) 351-3782 Fax

Books for Prisoners

Sheila Shenoy shared this with me:

This is the organization in Urbana that has volunteers help package books to those in prison. Sometimes these prisoners write in Spanish and I know they would be grateful for those with Spanish-speaking abilities to help out by reading them and responding back in Spanish along with the proper books: www.books2prisoners.org.

Mobile Mexican Consulate Visit

The Mexican Consulate will be in town April 15-17 (Wednesday through Friday). Read the information in the image and find out if you can volunteer at this event, perhaps entertaining children while parents consult with the consulate employees. If you decide to do this event, you must be very responsible and proactive: do not let them down!

Office of Volunteer Programs

Go to the Union and ask (nicely) if they have any opportunities for you to do work in Spanish.

Letter-writing Campaigns


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Student Reflection


by Annette Popernik


Al leer este artículo y ver el primer video, me quede sorprendida al saber cuantos niños van a la corte sin un abogado. Tener un abogado para estos niños no es una ley y los niños que vienen de México y Canadá son deportados sin ir a la corte. El hombre en el video afirma que muchos abogados pueden hacer el trabajo y aprender fácilmente. Nos asegura que es un trabajo verdaderamente increíble. Los niños son el futuro de nuestra sociedad pero ¿cómo tendremos un futuro si no cuidamos nuestros niños? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Can You Learn about Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors in Your Area?

by Ann Abbott

I will be out of town this week, giving talks in Atlanta, Georgia and in Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately, that means that I cannot be in class with my students this Thursday. Here's what we'll do instead.

Puppy-Chow Sale for Unaccompanied Minors

1. Read about this fundraising event. "Like" the event (encouraged, but not required).
3. Do one (or both) of these things:
  • Attend the fundraising event. (Students at the table will ask you to sign your name for proof.)
  • Look up information about unaccompanied immigrant minors. On the Facebook event, add a comment with a link to a source with reliable information (please evaluate the information before posting). Add a brief comment about what you learned from that article/blog/video/etc. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spanish Community Service Learning and ACTFL's Can-Do Statements


by Ann Abbott

It was such a pleasure to got to the Ohio State University last week. I had the opportunity to meet faculty and graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. I learned about the wonderful community-based projects they are doing, and I shared some things with them, too.

In particular, I'd like to note the wonderful contributions to the areas of community-based learning, public engagement, heritage language speakers, and US Latinos done by the following faculty members there:

  • Glenn Martínez
  • Terrell Morgan
  • Elena Foulis
  • Anna Babel
Of course I also have to rave about my friend and co-author Holly Nibert who is their new Language Program Director.

But quickly, before I start this week by tackling my email (which I know is the opposite of what the productivity experts say you should do, but...), I just wanted to jot down the take-aways that I hoped to provide to the graduate students with my talk. Not everyone will do community service learning (CSL) in every course, but it's good to be aware of the following.
  • Pedagogy isn't just for basic language courses. Yes, you have your methods course when you first start as a graduate student and are teaching basic language courses. But it's important to both apply those same pedagogical concepts in courses throughout the curriculum and to continue developing your pedagogical philosophy and toolkit.
  • The nature of Spanish programs is changing. I won't go into detail here, but suffice it say that as the presence of Spanish and Spanish-speakers continues to increase throughout the United States in ways that we haven't experienced before (e.g., Latino communities in the rural Midwest, for example), teaching Spanish exclusively as a foreign language makes less and less sense.
  • The nature of student learning is changing. Students come to our classrooms with different experiences and expectations about learning than they did even just a few short years ago. I see this mostly in terms of technology and pacing. That doesn't mean that they want us to change everything! No, I think my students still long for "old-school" professor-experts who challenge and change the way they think. But I don't think we can deny that they want a more participatory experience that reduces their sense of "busy-work."
  • CSL can be for any part of Hispanic Studies. I presented to students about my course "Spanish in the Community" (and others). At OSU they have a long-standing, wonderful course called "Spanish in Ohio." Those are great. But CSL can be integrated into existing courses and in all disciplines (literature and linguistics). CSL isn't "a course." CSL is a pedagogy, an approach, a method that enhances student learning.
I hope you'll also take away some of those messages from the slide show above. What's missing, of course, are the stories and examples that I provide with each slide. But if you click on the image of most of the slides, they'll take you to another resource.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik

Una Voz


Al empezar a trabajar con La Línea, mi trabajo indicado fue ser una operador. Es decir, dos horas a la semana, yo tenía el teléfono de La Línea. El teléfono es chiquito y lo que muchos llamarían un “teléfono antiguo”. Pero este “teléfono antiguo” es nuestra forma de comunicación con todos nuestros clientes y con él hemos podido ayudar a muchas personas.  Casi todas las personas que son operadores son bilingües. Usualmente, contesto en español ya que la mayoría de los clientes prefieren el español. Uno no entiende el poder de hablar un idioma hasta que lo logra usar en la comunidad para ayudar a los demás. Me empecé a dar cuenta del impacto de que yo puedo hablar español cuando estaba en la secundaria y ayudaba con traducciones. Desde entonces, he sido voluntaria en muchos lugares usando mi español.

En La Línea, los voluntarios y especialmente los operadores tienen la gran oportunidad de ser una voz amable y ayudadora. Puede ser una pregunta sobre algo simple como la fecha de un taller o la dirección de una agencia. Sin embargo, poder identificarse con una persona a través del idioma aunque sea solo por el teléfono, hace una diferencia. No conozco la dificultad de pasar todo el día tratando de entender y hablar un idioma que no es mío. Me imagino que entre el trabajo, los deberes en la casa, los hijos, y las clases de ingles, uno se cansa. Poder ayudar simplemente siendo una voz que habla español a través de La Línea es algo único.

Uno nunca sabe que tipo de llamada le va tocar. Podría ser alguien que necesite asistencia inmediatamente. Algo especial de La Línea es que trabajamos con casos muy diversos. Nuestras llamadas son preguntas sobre el empleo, donde encontrar clases de inglés, el seguro médico, etc. Esto es lo que distingue a La Línea, la persistencia de los voluntarios en buscar recursos para nuestros clientes y nuestra habilidad de servir a la comunidad en dos idiomas.  No siempre sabemos la respuesta a una pregunta. Pero la encontramos. Es algo especial. Yo soy una voz, pero soy una voz que puede traer mucho bien a mi comunidad.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik

Making Connections

As a helpline that does not provide specific services but rather referrals to service providers and agencies in the local Champaign-Urbana community, we thrive off calls from local Hispanics and people in the community who need to be pointed in the right direction and need to know what agency to contact. We guide them through the process, and we also provide translation and interpretation services. However, during the winter months, our calls drop significantly. Having spoken with Lisa Sink, La Línea’s Director, I decided that a beneficial project would be for me to call different agencies in the community and tell them what we do at La Línea. We have a resources list, a “cheat sheet”, of various organizations and agencies in the Champaign-Urbana area as well as surrounding areas. That way, when a client calls us, we know how to best help them. However, it’s really no use to have these names and numbers if they do not know about us and refer clients to us as well. There are so many people in our day-to-day lives that need our help and assistance and sometimes the connection just isn’t there. They don’t know we exist, and we don’t know they need our help.

Embarking on this project made me think about Social Entrepreneurship. This kind of entrepreneurship, according to Ann Abbott, is a mix of commercial and social components, creates social value, and generates its proper income; it is auto sufficient. La Línea is volunteer-based. The purpose of this project was not to generate income or funds, but it did create other “funds”. At La Línea, we need those in the community to know about us in order for us to help them. Networking with agencies and individuals in the community brings us our commercial and social components. Our “brand” (i.e. the name of our helpline) is out in the community by making connections with other agencies, which will bring us more clients. Every time we help a client, we create social value.

At the outset of my project, I had to decide which agencies to call, taking into account certain considerations and limitations. First of all, I had to limit the number of agencies I called because La Línea is not a large, funded agency. We are a volunteer-based, non-profit helpline working out of the University of Illinois campus. By overextending ourselves, we would limit our capacity to help our clients. I decided to call six agencies, each serving a different purpose in the community. That was the next step, deciding what type of agencies to call. Much depended on what kind of clients they serve. It was in my interest to call agencies that serve English and Spanish speakers since our operators and advocates speak both English and Spanish. I took into account agencies that might have clients who need further services which that agency can’t provide. For example, I first called the Urbana Adult Education Center. They provide high school completion programs, job skill training, interviewing, etc. Since applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) requires the completion of high school or a GED in order to apply, I thought this center might come across people fulfilling their high school requirements in order to apply for DACA. By giving this center our information, clients can have a number to call when looking for DACA information and how to sign up for a workshop, which we help with.

Calling agencies was intimidating at first. I had to call at the right time and talk to the right people. I was pleasantly surprised at how receptive everyone I talked to was. When I called, I would say something like:
“Hi my name is Annette Popernik. I work with a helpline called La Línea. We do referrals to service providers and different agencies/organizations in the community. We also do translation and interpretation (English and Spanish). I was wondering if one of our volunteers could drop off flyers so that you could have them and refer your clients to us in case there is a service you don’t provide but want to lead them in the right direction.”
The representatives’ immediate answers were often full of excitement. All six agreed to receive flyers from volunteers who would coordinate to drop off flyers. One of the agencies I called was the Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC). They work with translation, interpretation, aid with paperwork, citizenship, residency, counseling, etc. I thought this would be the perfect agency to call since DACA and similar concerns such as translation would certainly come up at a center that deals with immigration. Sure enough, very shortly after my phone call to ECIRMAC, the center was already referring clients to us for translation services.

Other agencies I called address issues like crisis pregnancies, domestic violence, and healthcare. By calling agencies that deal with a variety of issues, the name of our helpline will hopefully reach a variety of clients in need of different kinds of help. This project helped me realize the value of making connections and working with other agencies. It was a unique experience and helped me to learn about other service providers in the community. As the Intake Coordinator of La Línea, it was valuable to learn this but even more valuable as a social entrepreneur. The community we live in is stronger because of the people in it that are willing to lend one another a helping hand. That is the whole purpose of La Línea. Corporate businesses and the typical modern day worker become so centralized on advancement, making money, and going up the ladder for profit, it is forgotten why we do what we do. I’m glad to be doing something that benefits the people around me, to be fighting to help my community.