Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Archives
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives

    Speaking each other’s language

    Laney ESOL students and Oakland senior home form cross-cultural collaboration

    Laney College’s ESOL Department (English Speakers of Other Languages) has partnered with The Lake Merritt Senior Living community, bringing students and senior residents together all semester in a utilization of untapped experience, wisdom, and talent. 
    The partnership has had a great impact on the students, who are getting a chance to have quality conversations with seniors, many of whom are experienced educators. The residents discuss a number of topics with the students, such as celebrating holidays, interviewing for jobs, riding a bicycle and even experiencing fear. They talk about life experiences and sometimes the weather. 
    There are numerous studies that show having and feeling a sense of purpose is important for people who are retired or living in senior communities. Everyone needs to feel a sense of purpose in their lives, but the elderly often have a tougher time finding where they can fit in and be useful. 
    Many retired seniors have the same skills they always had, but not enough opportunities to put those skills to use. Age has not taken away their desire or ability to contribute to their community.
    ESOLThe need for personal human connections stays with us throughout life. Like a sense of purpose, increased human interaction greatly improves the quality of life, especially among seniors who may not have a lot of opportunities to go out and make new friends. 
    I sat down with one of the senior residents, a former teacher named Judy Moore, after the Friday meet-up class to ask about her experience working with Laney students, 
    “It is so much fun, and you really learn a lot about them, you know. And they come here for all different reasons,” she said. “One man I was speaking to today was a political opposer in China and he had to leave there because of that.
    “There is a sweet Vietnamese man that comes every week. It took him a long time, I spoke to him several different times, and he told me he was imprisoned in Vietnam, also because of political opposition. He’s here with his wife and they come every week and they are such sweet people.”
    On top of the personal connections she has made, Moore discusses the importance of the Partnership between her community and Laney’s ESOL department.
    “If you’re in a big class, a language class, you learn a lot of writing and I see the school is teaching them a lot about writing, but they can’t converse,” she said. “To answer a question, yes or no, you have to have the experience, but they don’t have the experience that I think is most important — the conversational; being able to say what you want to say and be understood. 
    “So I just love it and I feel like it’s worth doing. I was a Special Ed teacher, and then a consultant, so I have real experience teaching people who are having a hard time doing what they are being asked to do. Smart people, but people who have a hard time communicating.”
    Speaking with Moore was a joy. Before our time was up I asked if she would be coming back to the Friday class again and she assured me nothing would stop her.
    “I come every Friday. I just came here in January and I have come every time. It’s the best thing on my [schedule], 11 o’clock on Friday. When I got here today we had more teachers here than students.”
    This partnership has huge benefits for everyone involved, bringing members of our community together who might otherwise never have been able enrich each other’s lives. 
    If you or someone you know is learning English and would enjoy the opportunity to sit down and practice with experienced teachers, you very well might be in luck. The ESOL Department is looking to expand the partnership program.
     For more information, or if you’d like to join the program, you can visit The Lake Merritt website at thelakemerrittsenior.com, or email Activities Director Ryan Wilcox at ryan(at)thelakemerrittsenior.com.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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