There are 25 students (moms) enrolled at Shadowlawn Elementary. The program began in October 2016. There are students from at least seven countries in the program. They did not know each other before the class.

Their commonality was that they wanted to learn English to help their family and themselves. They love learning English but what they didn’t realize would happen is that they have become friends with one another.

Developing friends, especially women friends, has made them so much happier! They look forward to coming to their English class every Thursday morning.

Gaining confidence

The ESL class has encouraged the moms to feel confident to speak English to people when they are in the community. Many of the moms said that when they have done that in the past, people would laugh at them. This experience was so humiliating that they just acted as though they didn’t speak English.

But a few months ago, some of the students said that their English is good enough and they now feel confident enough to speak English when out in public. They are proud, wonderful women. This is a success for our students to acquire enough English literacy skills and it enhances the entire Naples/Collier County community.

Love of learning

The ladies at Shadowlawn Elementary are so dedicated that they wanted to continue class until the last day of school. Being a retired elementary teacher, the tutor knew how chaotic that would be. So she asked the office secretary how long they could continue the English class.

It was decided that it would be no problem if the class continued through May 25. Then the secretary asked the tutor if she had talked with the principal because he wanted to know when they could start back in the 2017–18 school year!

This program is such a success for the families involved and a benefit for the academics of their children and the school they attend. But most of all, it has encouraged the importance of lifelong learning!