Introducing Aprendalo

In a world-wide pandemic-year that has become more of a generational watershed, one can count on political disagreement on all levels of governance – national, local, and even that of the self. Across media outlets, people are quickly relegated to chyron figures and one-hour talking points. On the ground, however, grassroots nonprofits continue their push for a more equitable and fulfilled globalsphere even if that work must go on in quiet, humble corners and address seemingly mundane tasks. ¡Aprendalo!, affectionately translated as “Learn it!” is a high-school-formed ESL organization by Ronak Shetty of Summit and Rhys Williams of Cedar Grove.

This organization is dedicated to the teaching of English to those who strive to learn the language and culture. Offered virtually and at no cost, Aprendalo! operates on a base of over seventy student-tutors who meet for an hour every week and deliver an English language lesson to a pupil with little to no experience in the tongue. Aimed at Spanish and Portuguese speakers unable to afford conventional programs with strict learning schedules, the program has built on an independent curriculum utilized by teachers from multiple states, including New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Students, who make initial contact with their tutor via the messaging platform Whatsapp, hail from across the world, with representation focused in the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. From simple grammar to practical vocabulary, Aprendalo’s foundational bracing in English is designed to give students a head start in an age in which better communication can be the bridge between one opportunity and the next. Since the organization’s inception, the international nature of the endeavor has also been committed to the diversity of its internal team, striving to offer service work to high-schoolers and college students of all backgrounds. As Aprendalo powers toward a network of one-hundred ESL enrollees and thousands of lessons taught, we affirm that no community is too distant to develop an interpersonal connection that will endure.

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