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Neighbors Link’s High School ESL Tutors Win Award

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — Mount Kisco is home to the top Westchester youth group, according to the Volunteer Center of United Way. The organization’s 32nd annual Volunteer Sprit Awards has recognized the Neighbors Link’s High School ESL Tutors, a student group based in Mount Kisco .

Thirty students from area high schools like Fox Lane and John Jay have partnered with Neighbors Link, a not-for-profit community center, to aid in the center's mission to integrate and strengthen the community by empowering immigrants and their families.

During Tuesday night sessions at the center, located at 27 Columbus Ave., two student tutors pair up with one “learner,” and do exercises using one of four increasingly advanced English language workbooks.

One of the ESL club’s executives, Divya Talwar, a senior at Horace Greeley, has been involved with the program since she was a freshman.

Talwar said she strongly believes in the purpose of Neighbors Link: to educate and employ immigrants with the help of community partnerships such as this one.

“It was good to see how two cultures could come together and work together really well,” Talwar said.

Talwar mentioned that one woman just graduated from the program, having completed all four thick workbooks in one year and passed all comprehension level tests. Talwar said it feels good to know that she and her fellow tutors have really made a difference.

“Right after you have a good session you can tell right away when the learner has a good experience,” Talwar said.

Carola Bracco, executive director of Neighbors Link, said she is inspired by the student volunteers who support these immigrants as they seek to build a better life in the U.S.

“We are so grateful to these remarkable high school students for their commitment to our mission of integration, their understanding of the challenges faced by English language learners and for their extraordinary energy and contribution,” Bracco said in a news release.

The group will be presented with the “Youth Group in Action” award at an April 20 ceremony held at the Hilton Rye Town in Rye Brook. One of the seven other volunteers to be honored at the ceremony is also from Mount Kisco. Pat Rosafort will be given the Social Advocacy award for her work with victims of domestic violence at Hope’s Door.

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