TBH celebrated its first graduation ceremony for staff in an innovative staff education program on June 29th at 2:00 PM in the Home’s Pavilion. Math and language teachers from The Boston Home’s training partner, Jewish Vocational Services (JVS), taught classes for the 30 students twice a week on site over several months. Four of the Home’s residents with expertise or teaching backgrounds volunteered as tutors. The students, most of whom are first generation immigrants, are preparing for either high school equivalency or preparation for post secondary education.
With funding from The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), The Boston Home and JVS conducted a work needs assessment of its staff. The assessment found that employees wanted to increase their language and math skills to better perform at work, as well as to reach their career goals.
Instructors from JVS teach lessons on-site each week, and four residents of The Boston Home serve as tutors. For the resident tutors, this program has allowed them to give back to those who care for them. As a result of this program, residents and staff are collaborating and the time they spend together is working to enhance the overall quality of care at The Boston Home.
Steve Juknis one of the resident tutors worked previously as an engineer. He volunteers in the Math class and works with his own small group of math students twice a week. When asked about the work that he does with students in class he humbly remarked, “I do very little—they are the ones working hard.” The students later commented that this resident probably spends equal amounts of time volunteering outside of class time to help math students with their homework. Steve noted, “It’s a really neat program and gives me a chance to give back to the people who help me every day.”
Victoria Louis, a nursing assistant at The Boston Home since 1994, graduated from the ESOL Program.
“I came to Boston from Haiti in 1993 and taught myself English,” Victoria said. “Because of their ESOL program, my English has improved dramatically. I can now express myself in writing, too. The communication barrier that I have faced for so many years has been lifted. I am thankful for this program, and I look forward to taking the math classes next. My heart is filled with gratitude and love for the tutors and teachers.”