The Rockbridge Community Health Foundation-Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital grant was awarded to W&L’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in order to support the implementation of a new, community-based summer program for K-12 youth who would otherwise have limited access to curricular opportunities outside of the school year.

The ESOL Summer Program was conceived in response to the needs articulated by local parents who would like their children to have access to structured days, academic enrichment, and enhanced mentoring in the summer months. Initial plans were drafted by ESOL’s student and faculty leadership during the 2020-2021 academic year. This summer, with support from the Office of Community Based Learning, ESOL was able to hire two summer interns, Andrea Rojas and Elizabeth González Avalos, who have been working with Professors Ellen Mayock and Jayne Reino to further plan an integrative, multi-faceted program. The primary objectives of the program are to: bolster students’ language, literacy and critical thinking skills; nurture students’ creative interests; and encourage an active lifestyle. A cohort of two ESOL faculty co-advisers, 6-8 undergraduate counselors from W&L, and two Rockbridge High School junior counselors will come together in June 2022 to host 15-20 students in this engaging, 4-week pilot program.

For over 20 years, W&L’s ESOL Program has collaborated with many schools and community agencies.  The Rockbridge Community Health Foundation-Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital grant means the world to ESOL.  The award recognizes both ESOL’s profound connections with community members and community partners and its mission to facilitate and enhance communication and education in our local area.  ESOL members look forward to deepening these connections with students and their families, and many community partners, through the pilot summer program in 2022!