HomepageModern LanguagesSpanish Students Volunteer in Pottstown, Pa.

Spanish Students Volunteer in Pottstown, Pa.

Under the direction of Giovanna Steyaert, Spanish students put to work their language and tutoring skills for the Hispanic community of Pottstown, Pa.

 Thanks to an Ursinus College Teaching and Learning Initiative Grant for Pedagogical Innovation and Experimentation, Prof. Giovanna Steyaert has developed a volunteering program in the local Spanish speaking community for Ursinus student.

The program includes teaching ESL, mentoring Hispanic children, leading Adult Book Clubs, and reading stories in Spanish to young heritage speakers at two non-profit organizations, ACLAMOCentro Cultural Latinos Unidos, and at the Pottstown Regional Public Library

At the beginning of the semester, each potential volunteer is interviewed by Prof. Steyaert and placed in a program that best fits his or her skills. Spanish majors and minors, as well as students enrolled in elementary Spanish courses are welcome to participate.

There are currently 14 students participating in this program:

  • Hollin Anderson (2017)
  • Adam Bumgardner (2017)
  • Anna Budny (2018)
  • Sarah Gow (2018)
  • Joseph Jaworski (2016, English)
  • Samantha Morris (2018)
  • Jordan Ostrum (2017, Spanish)
  • Chase Renninger (2017, Biochem/Molecular Biology & Spanish)
  • Jade Segreto (2017, Biology)
  • Jerilyn Smith (2018)
  • Alexa Snively-Bologna (2016, Neuroscience; Spanish Minor)
  • Amanda Steyaert (2017, English & Spanish Major)
  • Jessica Vadaketh (2018)
  • Tess Wiggin (2016, Biochem/Molecular Biology;Spanish Minor)


Quick Links


Giovanna Steyaert
Modern Language Department
Olin 220

What Students Say

  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> “I believe applying the skills learned in a classroom to the real world is an awesome learning opportunity for any academic field. My volunteering in a local organization that helps mentor and tutor the local Hispanic population has helped me practice my Spanish, while assisting with local problems that affect immigrants of all kinds in America. Although volunteering will in no way change the social problems occurring at a national scale, it can help teach students about the different lives people lead within the same country. I have gained first-hand experience at the difficulties imposed on non-native speakers of English when arriving in America and how arduous their lives can be just because the American education system has very little in the way of supporting them” (Chase Renninger, ’17, Spanish / Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)</p><p>  </p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> “Ursinus College prides itself in giving its students the opportunities to pursue first-hand experience working in their fields, as well as helping to improve the surrounding community.  Through the <a href="/academics/modern-languages/" target="_blank">Modern Languages Department</a>, I have been able to do both. Not only has volunteering vastly improved my Spanish communication skills by interacting directly with native speakers, but it has also allowed me to visibly change the lives of non-native English speakers by providing them with the language and communication skills necessary to live out the American dream”. (Amanda Steyaert 2017, English & Spanish Major)</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> “Community and communication are interdependent. You can’t have one without the other.  When groups of people get together and make connections, they thrive. That’s what a Spanish major allows you to do: communicate and make connections with different groups of people. Because of Ursinus, I’m able to do just that with the local Hispanic communities. In tutoring ESL at ACLAMO, I have been able to improve both their lives and mine own” (Jordan Ostrum ’17, Spanish Major)</p><p>  </p></div>
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