Volunteering Together

Written by Paul Kienzle, Latino ESL Director

One of the most satisfying moments about my job as the Latino ESL Director at Mission Adelante is seeing and talking with my Latino ESL students at Thursday night classes. Another great moment is coming alongside them outside of class and getting to know them and have fun with them, in a completely different context.  One such context is an opportunity we offer once a trimester to our Latino ESL students to volunteer at Adelante Thrift for a couple of hours; allowing them to see and experience first hand, Adelante Thrift’s vision to serve our community.  The satisfying part is seeing these ESL students catch the vision, jump in, and serve joyfully and energetically!

It has been an encouraging journey since the first Saturday we offered this opportunity to our ESL Latino students and no one showed up! It is starting to catch on though, because last Saturday, three trimesters later, we were thrilled to see nine ESL students, two ESL volunteers, and three ESL Latino staff come together and have a great time serving. Out of the nine ESL students, seven were newcomers to Adelante Thrift. We had a lot of laughs, sorting through toys, shoes, and clothes but more importantly; it was interesting listening to them share with me why they wanted to volunteer.  All of the students that I talked with mentioned “giving back to the community” as their primary motive for coming to serve at Adelante Thrift. One student mentioned that his decision to take part in the ESL Latino Volunteer Day was a result of seeing all that he and his family has received; ESL classes, the investment he sees his ESL Volunteers make, and the kids programming that his children have been blessed to be a part of.  One of the students, a mother with three young children in tow, responded that “she wanted them to come so that they could see serving modeled in her so that they in turn do the same thing”.  All that I heard, came from hearts filled with gratitude.  It was beautiful to watch these students, volunteers, and staff working in unison; enjoying one another and getting to know each other better.  Our volunteer experience went by fast, but not without Adelante Thrift making an impact on each of us. The treatment and guidance given to us by the Adelante Thrift staff, from start to finish was phenomenal and very helpful.  Their desire to promote Adelante Thrift and share its vision was made plain to all of us.   

I love this volunteer moment every trimester, as it gives our ESL Latino students and volunteers a chance and an outlet to serve our community, together.  I never know who will show up, but that is the fun and beauty of trusting God to speak into the hearts of our students and volunteers.  I have high hopes that we will not see another Volunteer Day where “no one shows up!”  One of the students asked me, “Pablo, is this the only day we can volunteer here?”  “Nope”, I said with a smile.  “You can come here to serve whenever you like.”  

Current Needs:

  • Adelante Thrift is in need of houseware items to restock our supply.  The demand for houseware items is high, which is good, but our shelves look bare. We are in need of gently used utensils, pots, pans, and other houseware items. Donations are accepted at Adelante Thrift, Monday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm.
  • Are you looking for a practical way to help refugees and immigrants? Consider purchasing from Mission Adelante's Top Ten list on Amazon.  Mission Adelante serves a large number of men, women and children each week and is in need of various items. A link to the wish list can be found on Mission Adelante's website under Give Stuff.
  • Adelante Thrift is in need of High Impact Volunteers.  If you are interested in serving at Adelante Thrift in an on-going basis, please visit our website at www.adelantethrift.com/volunteer