Hablemos! Let’s Talk!
When you have a group of passionate parents and strong community partnerships, good things happen.
This was precisely the case in 2018. WeGo Together for Kids (a collective impact community collaboration that facilitates the community efforts of West Chicago Elementary School District 33) conducted a community survey asking parents what their hopes and dreams were for their children, the school district, and West Chicago. From that, the idea for Hablemos was born.
Hablemos is a Spanish and English conversation group for West Chicago families. This unique group is truly a community “hands-on” effort. Gallery 200 provides the space, Literacy DuPage facilitates the discussion, the West Chicago Public Library supplies the resources to help facilitate language learning, the resident leadership team (a group of passionate parents) is the force behind turning the vision into a reality, and WeGo Together for Kids brings everyone together.
Hablemos means “Let’s Talk!” and that is what we do!
This interactive class is about communicating with people in the community who do not speak the same language. Everyone learns from each other! The English speakers learn some Spanish, and the Spanish speakers learn some English.
Hablemos is not a grammar class. The goal is to learn the language needed to talk to people in the community. To achieve this practical and real-life goal, each week the required vocabulary is introduced and practiced. For example, the discussion of the day may be centered around daily activities, holidays, favorite colors, favorite foods, and recipes. Conversation group leader Karen hopes through field trips the community will eventually become the classroom.
“We are able to unite and bridge the community so people don’t just live next to each other but can live with each other.”
Hablemos is much more than a conversation group. Participants find common ground and build strong, meaningful, and lasting relationships. For resident leadership team member Anbern, it means having a bridge to get to know her neighbors and neighborhood better. By bringing native Spanish and English speakers together, not only is the group able to practice language skills and learn from one another, the group helps strengthen and engage West Chicago’s diverse community.
Looking to the future
The hope for Hablemos is that it grows both in attendance and scope to include additional learning opportunities and collaborative growth for participants, which would further propel community building and engagement.
Anbern hopes the conversation can go from learning to say “hello” to learning to talk about how to improve West Chicago together.
How to get involved
The group is closed for the winter session. However, if you or someone you know would like to attend, there will be another class offered in the spring. You can check out the WeGo Together for Kids’ Facebook Page for information.
At Literacy DuPage, we have eight conversation groups that meet regularly at different locations throughout DuPage County. These groups are intended to give adult English as a Second Language (ESL) learners more practice speaking English in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
There is no charge for attendance, and there is no need to make a commitment or to register to attend a group. All adult English learners — and their tutors — are welcome! You can learn more about these groups here.