How Important Is It To Learn English?

A few months back, a charity I do a little volunteer work for called me and asked me if I would pick up some donated furniture in Bonita Springs after work. Since I was working there at the time, I said no problem. I asked the couple how they’d found out about the charity and so on. Regular small talk stuff while securing the load. Turns out the folks also volunteer to tutor Hispanic students from the local schools. The student’s parents often don’t know English, so the parents aren’t able to help them with their homework. They were snowbirds, so don’t live here full time, but I got a sense of wonderment at the situation they were trying to help rectify. I guess when you live here full time, you just sort of understand that this is a destination for non-English speaking folks. They have a network that brings and supports them here, and there is no need to learn English for the parents, in many cases. I was dropping off donations at another charity another time, and the volunteer trying to give aid to the needy lady asked in Spanish, “how many years have you been here?”, clearly frustrated. The lady had lived here for 15 years, and never learned English. It’s just the end result of the political decisions that have been made. My co-worker commented (in Spanish) that I was learning Spanish. “I need to”, I answered, also in Spanish. The crew laughed.

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