San Benito Afterschool Program offers free ESL classes

SAN BENITO — The San Benito Afterschool Program wants to bridge the communication barrier.

San Benito Afterschool Program and the San Benito Housing Authority are partnering up to offer ESL classes to parents involved in either program.

Classes are free and are held at the San Benito Housing La Hermosa building.

Classes began yesterday and are held Tuesday through Thursday every week.

Family engagement specialist Albert Tamez said the program teaches conversational ESL and people interested can enroll anytime.

“There is no test to enter the class, they just have to be willing to do the work,” Tamez said.

This is the third year the Afterschool Program has offered ESL classes and they average 12 to 15 students every year.

Tamez said the program hopes to enroll 20 to 25 students this year.

He said classes are made to fit the needs of the students, offering beginner’s and intermediate courses.

The program provides labs for its students that involve studying menus to restaurants many of their students may not have visited before.

“Believe it or not, the most intimidating thing is going to new places,” Tamez said.

Tamez said a lot of people might forgo places like Jason’s Deli because it is different and they really don’t know what to expect.

The program will take them to these places after they have studied the menu and the students are encouraged to have conversations and order off the menu in English.

“It’s a huge milestone for the parents,” Tamez said. “They are used to having their kids order for them.”

Tamez said the program prefers the students to stay the whole year, but efforts are made to keep them the whole semester.

Tamez said classes are held in the afternoon, but if there is a need to offer classes at a different time to fit the communities’ needs, it is something that will be considered.

Classes are set to run until May 2018.

If You Go

WHAT: ESL classes

WHEN: Tuesday through Thursday, 12-2:30 p.m.

WHERE: La Hermosa Building 1155 South McCullough Street

COST: Free