News & Events

Nancy Jensen is Recognized

Laubach Tutor: Nancy JensenA Maine native, although a California resident for almost 60 years,  Nancy Jensen, is a Laubach Tutor 7 months of the year.  She returns to Maine five months of the year and teaches ESL for Literacy Volunteers of Bangor.  No need to guess what Nancy is passionate about!

She was recognized in June by Literacy Volunteers of Bangor for having taught with them for ten years and was asked to say a few words to the more than 100 people in attendance at their annual dinner.

In preparing for the talk, she had to think back over the past ten years of her experiences both in San Diego and Bangor. She titled her talk, “The Hand of Service Goes Both Ways.” and spoke of issues that many in the audience may have encountered— Finding My Volunteer Service Niche, (wasn’t so easy), Expanding My Skill Level (not enough skills in the skill bag), and Reaping the Rewards (many).

Her first assignment after Laubach training was in an elementary school—a collaboration between the San Diego City Schools and Laubach. Mothers, who dropped off their children at school, came to her class. The level of the students’ English fluency was extremely varied. She felt that she was both undertrained and inexperienced for this class… and she said that she was boring. “I really needed more skills,” she commented. Next, pursuing a TESOL Certification she learned many techniques. “Importantly, teaching ESL could be creative and fun while the students learned… and stimulating.” she said.

The rewards have been many for her—not only watching the students grow in English abilities, but equally important, watching their confidence levels expand. Rather than being isolated, they became not only part of a class, but also part of the greater community, venturing where they had been afraid before. “I felt and feel such a sense of pride in each of their areas of growth,” she commented.

“Yes, the hand of service truly goes both ways,” Nancy said. She plans to continue reaping the rewards, both in San Diego and Bangor.

Nancy has served on the Laubach Board and tutored for many years.  Currently she facilitates a unique group of intermediate speakers who desire to focus on everyday conversation. The topics vary and she brings in speakers, and goes on outings with them. She inspires her students speak English wherever they go.  How lucky both San Diego and Bangor are to have Nancy part of their families.

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Mona Hakimpour, Outstanding Student – Bayside Literacy Center

Outstanding Student: Mona HakimpourIn 2011, after many long years of waiting, Mona was given permission to leave Iran and come to the United States. Being able to communicate well in her new country was a priority for her, so one of the first things she did was to enroll in an Adult ESL class at Mesa College. While there, she met a friend –coincidentally our Outstanding Student in 2013 — who told her about Laubach at Bayside Community Center, and Mona decided to add our class to her schedule so she could more quickly achieve her goal of studying literature at Mesa. 

Nearly 6 years later, she continues to attend classes 3 times weekly. We’ve all happily and proudly watched her gain proficiency in English, and her growing confidence has allowed her to become a real team player, actively helping her classmates, speaking up in class and comfortably voicing her opinions. In addition, Mona — a lifelong book lover — is now able to enjoy novels written not just in Farsi, but also in English. She’s improved her English composition skills, too, and our class is always enthralled when she reads her journal entries about her life and adventures in Iran. Mona’s also embraced San Diego and all the wonderful things it has to offer, at first taking city buses to explore, and now driving and eagerly visiting new places. 

In 2016, Mona fulfilled her dream of becoming a US citizen. She credited our class with helping her learn enough about our culture and history to pass her citizenship test easily. She has made many friends and takes every opportunity to share her experiences and encourage them to join our Laubach family and improve their lives, too.  Mona is shown with her teachers, Anna Lewis, Chris Phillips and Nancy Jensen.

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Grant Awarded

2019 CECO -San Diego County Employees’Charitable Organization awarded Bayside Literacy Center with two rolling white boards for tutors to use during instruction.  The boards are used daily making teaching so much easier.  “It’s grants like these that make our job of tutoring so much easier.” says Katie Pedersen, Bayside Center Director and tutor.  

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