Volunteer Spotlight: ESL Tutor Darcy Vallery

Published on April 24, 2017

Darcy Vallery began volunteering with Catholic Charities’ English as a Second Language (ESL) program just last year, but she’s already made a lasting impact. In the fall of 2016, she began working with levels one through four learners three times a week. Doing so, she noticed the need many students had to receive more personal help in a one-on-one environment.

Darcy began taking students for 30 minutes one-on-one outside of the classroom setting. During these sessions, they received help with class material, projects and presentations.

Darcy Vallery

Darcy (left) with one of her ESL students.

Then, the tutoring program grew past simply class topics. Students came to Darcy seeking help with documents and pieces of mail they’d received and did not understand; some came to her asking for help speaking to their children’s teachers. Some simply needed to spend the 30 minutes practicing because no one else in their home spoke English.

One particular student stood out, Darcy said. He came seeking help at work because his bosses spoke English, but his coworkers spoke Spanish. He had been trying to get by speaking Spanish, his native language, as much as possible, but wanted to better communicate with his bosses about tools, materials and other work topics. He and Darcy made flashcards and studied the words he wanted to learn. Eventually, he mastered them and was able to speak confidently at work.

Like with this student, Darcy said, the biggest hurdle for many English learners is not knowing the educational resources available to them. She knows that as a teacher she may not connect with or be able to affect every student, but she tries her hardest to help them succeed. “That moment I feel I’ve connected with someone – that light bulb moment – is the best part,” she says.

Her students aren’t the only ones benefitting from Darcy’s hard work. CWS Corporate Housing, LLC, Darcy’s employer, is involved in the B.R.I.D.G.E. program (Breaking down barriers, Respect for others, Investing our resources, Dedication to the community, Giving ourselves, and Everyone makes a difference). For every hour of community service any employee performs, CWS donates money to help fund causes chosen by employees. Catholic Charities has been the lucky benefactor of Darcy’s volunteer work.

We are so grateful to Darcy for donating her time and talents to our ESL program, and so was President Obama! Last year, Darcy was given the Presidential Award, accompanied by a signed letter from the President himself, thanking her for her dedicated service to the community. Thank you for your service, Darcy!