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W&L’s English for Speakers of Other Languages Program Earns Grant from the Verizon Foundation

W&L’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program (ESOL) recently received a Verizon Community Initiative grant of $500. The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, awards grants to initiatives and non-profits that fall under its focus areas of education, literacy, domestic violence prevention or technology for healthcare and healthcare accessibility.

ESOL provides community members with language classes, translation services and one-on-one tutoring to facilitate communication within the increasingly diverse population of Rockbridge County. “The Verizon grant demonstrates external support for the mission and operation of ESOL,” said Ellen Mayock, associate professor of Romance languages and one of two faculty advisors for the organization.“The ESOL volunteers are grateful for both the financial support and the vote of confidence in our operation. This grant will allow us to enhance our English and Spanish education programs, as well as to increase publicity for our Translations and Hotline services.”

James Madden ’08 and Susan Mahoney ’09, development chairs of ESOL, submitted the grant to Verizon as part of their significant grant-writing work this year. “ESOL provides members of Rockbridge County taking ESOL language classes with free textbooks,” said Mahoney.“The grant will fund part of ESOL’s text book purchases for one full year.”

The funding from Verizon will allow ESOL to allocate the $500 they spend annually to other areas such as instructor development and translation services.

“Because the Executive Committee funding we receive covers only part of our annual budget, we were looking for external sources of funding,” said Madden, who credits Mahoney, with assistance from Mayock, as the main driving force behind the application. “At this point, we are still seeking more permanent sources of external funding, and we are hoping that alumni will be willing to support the great work that ESOL is doing in the community,” said Madden.  

To learn more about ESOL, please visit their website at http://ESOL.wlu.edu.