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This fall marked the 20th anniversary of the WORD~ESL a program founded by the Grand Rapids Dominicans twenty years ago in response to our Direction Statements and the needs of the local community. A luncheon celebration was held at Dominican Center in May.

Sr. Carmen Rostar has served as Program Director for the past seventeen years. The program was initially located at Steepletown on the West side as many Hispanic people lived there. Today, because of our political climate, the Hispanic community no longer makes up the majority of our population. Presently we have students from ten different countries. Because many of our Hispanic students were undocumented, they were afraid to come for instruction.

Six years ago the program moved to Marywood. On any given weekday there is a flurry of activity in our wonderful tutor/student rooms. Most of our instruction is one-on-one and the rooms are soundproof. We celebrate the wonderful tutors that have come to minister with us as well as our dedicated Sisters. The gift of young college students as tutors also adds life to the program. This semester we have five graduate students from GVSU with us on Thursday nights.

Two of our tutors, Mike Chatel and Christ Muldoon have been with the program from its beginning. We have several tutors who have been with us for over ten years. The program allows many of our Sisters who are well versed in English and Phonics to continue to minister here at Marywood. We have nine Sisters involved in the WORD~ESL: Sisters Pat Kennedy, Diane Dehn, Janice Mankowski, Josine Schafer, Catherine Anderson, Susan Ridley, Rosemary O’Donnell, Chris Muldoon (Associate) and Carmen Rostar. Sr. Joyce Ann Hertzig teaches the Citizenship Class at GRCC.

Many people have helped the program to grow and flourish. Grant money, through the life of the program, has exceeded $100,000 to date.

We thank those who keep our program in their heart and share their support in a multitude of ways. All is GOOD!

Photo: Pictured Back Row: Sisters Pat Kennedy, Catherine Anderson, Susan Ridley, Rosemary O’Donnell, Associate Christine Muldoon, and Carmen Rostar. Front Row: Sisters Diane Dehn; Josine Schafer, and Janice Mankowski.

Photo: Sisters Carmen Rostar, Janice Mankowski, Pat Kennedy, and Susan Ridley collaborate in the WORD ESL tutoring center.