Joan Wright

After 25 years of working in the social service sector, Joan Wright decided volunteering at CCI-LEX was the perfect outlet for her interest in learning about people, interacting with others, and teaching eager students.

Teaching in a classroom at CCI-LEX, wasn’t Joan Wright’s first encounter with a room full of students. Joan first taught high school in Toronto, the big T. She’s lived in different parts of Canada, working in the social service sector for 25 years.

When asked why she volunteers at CCI-LEX as a teacher, her response gives a snapshot into working at LEX.  Joan says, “I’ve volunteered here for 10 years. You have students who choose to be here, that want to be here, that are thankful—and that is a huge difference. They give you a lot of accolades, and most of them are just wonderful to work with.”

She further explained, “That’s part of the reason, what you get out of teaching – seeing someone grow, seeing someone speak English. It’s three hours a week and if you are away, and you know I am retired, they get me a sub. It’s convenient. The material is there for you, so I don’t have to make it all up. There are a lot of resources available.”

It can be challenging to learn a new language, as some struggle with writing, speaking, or remembering the nitty gritty grammar rules, but Joan says, despite the difficulties in learning a new language, “it is pretty amazing what students can do and what they can learn.”

“Teaching at CCI-LEX, you have to like people and like meeting people from different cultures—that’s the hook. Some believe volunteerism is mundane, but it is far from mundane because at the organization we work with human beings, all from different cultures,” she says.

Joan continues, “Volunteers never know who to expect at class at CCI-LEX.” CCI-LEX’s continuous enrollment policy allows people to come and go, and join a course partway through. This unique enrollment, as foreign as it sounds to the ears, is a cornerstone of the LEX Program, ensuring flexible and accessible language classes for newcomers that have multiple priorities and changing schedules, and who face barriers participating in more traditional, structured programs.

Whether someone is a university student interested in gaining teaching skills, or a retired professional seeking some meaningful volunteer work here and there, Joan says the requirement for a volunteer at LEX is simple: “care to hear others and care to help them, and facilitate learning; learning is facilitation.”