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Conversation Partners

By Meg Vermillion

The best report to get about C.P. is to ask the partners!  They are undeniably so pleased and enthusiastic about their experience.  Who are they?  Cynthia Oliver, Jutta Hansel, Dottie Gerrits, Phil Hansotia, and Karen Cruz.  Newly matched are Bill Hoge and Mary Dunworth.   In the community are Bill Winn, Sandy DeMaster, Sue Spitz, Jean DeSotelle, and Roslyn Krapf.   We have two Americans waiting for a match.

The program has a natural life of its own!   Some partners spend their time together working on improving English and are comfortable to keep it at that.  Other American partners have wanted to build the relationships and have offered social times together.  These have included occasional childcare, baking cookies and shared meals including a holiday.  Another couple has employed their Hispanic partner for his trade skills. There are no expectations in what direction the partnerships go, only that everyone is comfortable with what they do.   All partners comment how warm, courteous, and appreciative their Hispanic partners are.

A second C.P. group has begun in Sturgeon Bay through Hope Church.  We were asked for guidance on getting started.   Jami Hanreddy, a UU Friend and our trainer, has generously added the new group to her limited schedule when she is here.  We referred three southern Hispanics we could not serve.  An NWTC instructor has also told us that C.P. has an excellent reputation with the Hispanic students who are partners.

Outreach efforts are going on through the Gibraltar ELL (English Language Learners) teacher, YMCA, Northern Door Day Care Center, Bargains, and restaurants.  We know partnerships are always a matter of timing.  There has been some fluidity in participation on both sides.   More importantly the Hispanic and American community know we are still here!  If you are interested in exploring being a partner, you are welcome to sit in on a training session or contact Meg Vermillion.