Extraordinary things can come from partnerships.
At Literacy DuPage, we take pride in our collaboration with Puente Del Pueblo (PDP), an outreach ministry at Wheaton Bible Church. Since our two organizations first began working together in 2010, we have been breaking barriers and building bridges.
How? By partnering to tutor adults in English. This shared program promotes adult education and builds relationships in the local community — two things Wheaton Bible Church set out to accomplish when it established PDP.
In this unique arrangement, Wheaton Bible Church reaches learners through the predominantly Spanish-speaking community of PDP, and they recruit tutors from the Wheaton Bible congregation. Literacy DuPage trains those tutors and provides ongoing tutor-learner support for the program.
Below is a short interview with Rosie Delgado, PDP ESL Program Coordinator and PDP liaison for the partnership. As you’ll see, this extraordinary collaboration is changing lives!
Tell us what partnering with Literacy DuPage means to you and your congregation.
It’s cool that an organization like Literacy DuPage—that receives federal grants and works with the community—is willing and wanting to partner with a church. It shows what matters is the community and the people we are serving (outside of just the church or organization), and that unites us.
As a result of our work together, have you seen changes in the relationships between members of your congregation?
Yes! Tutors in the program must first go through an orientation and training. Those that graduate together are then in a cohort. From these experiences, it is great to see people who attend this huge church, and who do not know each other, become allies and friends from the program.
What about the way congregation members develop relationships with the community? How has that changed?
For many people in the church community, this program is one of the first times they have developed a safe cross-cultural relationship with someone so different from them. From these relationships, empathy is often created from one point of view to the other. Also, tutors can become involved in the learners’ lives. For example, one tutor became the Godparent of a quinceanera. They become part of the family.
What struggles, if any, have you experienced with the partnership?
There seems to be a smaller pool to pick from for tutors. In the church, other ministries need volunteers too. Recruitment can be hard with the time commitment for training and tutoring. We have had a lot of conversations about how can we recruit better within the church, and even recruitment outside the church.
What is your favorite thing about the partnership?
My favorite thing is how the partnership is structured and how both components complement each other. The church does relationships and loving people well, and Literacy DuPage does training people, knowledge of theory, and resources well. I don’t need to worry about how to train, necessarily. My strength is building relationships in the community. But at the same time, I can provide support where needed.
What do you see for the future between PDP and Literacy DuPage?
I hope we can continue to grow and serve more people in the community.