Greetings from ESL and Immigrant Ministries
Speak Easy
Newsletter from English as a Second Language and Immigrant Ministries
Summer 2018
ESL Classes: A Win-Win Activity

ESL & Immigrant Ministries promotes and supports the teaching of English to adult immigrants of all nationalities in Northern Virginia and DC and welcomes their active participation in our community.

One way to describe ESLIM is with numbers:  
  • 21 member churches
  • 29 years of service to our community
  • 475 volunteers connecting with our immigrant neighbors
  • 1,700 English learners committed to improving their lives 
  • Too many smiles to count 

But the numbers don't capture the most important aspect of ESL classes: the interactions of amazing people! Students share stories about their cultures and traditions. They welcome the opportunity to practice their English skills in a safe space, where they can make mistakes and ask questions and gain the confidence to use their skills. 


Volunteer teachers field the questions that puzzle our newest neighbors--everything from distinguishing words that sound similar (English is a little wacky, after all) to deciphering idioms to explaining unfamiliar customs. Meanwhile, every week is like visiting the United Nations or traveling around the world. 


Participants build community and develop friendships throughout the semester. At the end-of-semester celebration, they might take class photos to share with their families back home, bring their favorite dishes to share a taste of their culture, or offer heart-felt thanks to the volunteers.     


In a world where differences can divide people, ESL classes draw people together in a win-win activity. Thank you to everyone who makes this important ministry possible. In this issue, read about upcoming teacher training opportunities, the diversity in our area, and ways you can get involved.      

Teacher Training Opportunities

New teachers can either register for the first training which will take place at Dulin United Methodist Church in Falls Church on Saturday, August 25, or the second training at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fairfax on Saturday, September 8. Both sessions will be led by Lauren Lang and are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. A light lunch will be provided.

Lauren will also conduct a class for returning teachers at The Vine Church at Graham Road in Falls Church on Sunday, September 9 from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m.  

All teachers must register prior to the training date selected. To register, send contact information, including name, email, phone number, teaching site, and training date desired to  
Diversity of Birthplaces and Languages in Our Area

The most common birthplaces for foreign-born residents of Virginia are 1) El Salvador, 2) India, and 3) the Philippines. In Washington, DC, the most common birthplaces are 1) El Salvador, 2) Ethiopia, and 3) China.

Compared to other states, Virginia has a relatively high population that was born in 1) Bolivia, 2) Afghanistan, and 3) Sierra Leone. Washington, DC has a relatively high population born in 1) Ethiopia, 2) Cameroon and 3) Paraguay.

The most common foreign languages in Loudoun County are 1) Spanish, 2) other Asian languages, and 3) other Indic languages. The most common foreign languages in Fairfax County are 1) Spanish, 2) Korean, and 3) Vietnamese . The most common foreign languages in Washington, DC are 1) Spanish, 2) African languages, and 3) French.

Source: Census Bureau data posted at
Three Ways to Get Involved

1. Volunteer opportunities are available for the fall semester! No teaching experience or foreign language skills are needed--just a willingness to share one morning, afternoon or evening a week, plus some time for lesson planning. Semesters typically last for 10 to 12 weeks. See our website for more information and submit a volunteer application form today.   

2. Did you know you can assist ESLIM just by shopping online? Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible AmazonSmile purchases when you shop at Simply search for "English as a Second Language and Immigrant Ministries" and select it as your charity.

3. Your donation to ESLIM helps us reach out to prospective students and train volunteer teachers. It also allows our member programs to spend more on essentials such as books and supplies. To donate via PayPal or find instructions for mailing a check, please visit our website.      

We promote and support the teaching of English to adult immigrants of all nationalities in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia and welcome their active participation in our community.

To support the efforts of our member churches, ESLIM handles a variety of tasks in a centralized way. Its activities include the following:
  • Advertising for, placing, and training volunteer teachers
  • Advertising the English classes in foreign-language media
  • Maintaining a voice mail line for inquiries from prospective students and volunteers
  • Producing the Speak Easy e-newsletter two or three times per year
  • Maintaining a website that features the class schedule, a variety of resources for teachers, instructions for making donations, and information for churches considering an ESL ministry
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