ESL and the eagerness to improve

 The current ESL Curriculum for Latino ESL at Mission Adelante

The current ESL Curriculum for Latino ESL at Mission Adelante

Written by Paul Kienzle, Latino ESL Director

My wife and I are on loan to Mission Adelante from another Mission agency that has been in existence for over one hundred years.  Because of a changing demographic, evolving ministry emphasis and a multitude of other ongoing nuances and innovations, the Mission agency has changed its name three times in its century long existence to reflect its mission and vision.  Mission Adelante has been in exsistence a much shorter time (almost thirteen years) and has not changed its name.  I marvel at its commitment to the core value of innovation, its openness to “fresh ideas and new approaches” in a highly multicultural demographic like Kansas City.  As Director of Latino ESL ministries, and as a relatively new addition to Mission Adelante; it has been amazing to piece together the innovative history of an ongoing ESL program that started at a dining room table in the home of Jarrett Meek, our Founder and Executive Director.

In his aptly written article on Mission Adelante’s website last week, commitment to Mission Adelante's core value of innovation (see “Innovation or Moldy Bread?”), Jarrett Meek writes, “Innovation implies a willingness to try new things, to take risks, to celebrate successes, to fail and try again, and a constant eagerness to improve and grow.”   In our ESL Latino program, it is our desire to improve and grow and not be satisfied with simply letting a program run on autopilot or turning a blind eye to areas in need of innovation and improvement.  In ignoring issues, we run the risk of mediocrity or stagnancy, which in turn, impacts the learning experience of our ESL students. Some of the best eyes and ears for improvement and growth are from our very own volunteers.  Latino Ministry Director, Yanelis Lopez and myself turned to a group of dedicated volunteers recently for input and help with improving and strengthening the present ESL curriculum "English in Action" for the upper ESL levels.  Needless to say, it was a fruitful evening of discussion (and pizza)!  Our volunteers were eagerly engaged and dedicated to the task of discussing the facts of our present curriculum; the positives, the negatives, any emotion based feedback related to our curriculum and ended with a bounty of great, new ideas. It was a phenomenal first meeting and a great start toward strengthening and improving what we already have.

The momentum of innovation does not stop when a meeting over improving our ESL curriculum needs.  The “willingness to try new things” and the “eagerness to improve and grow” are key building blocks to innovation that compel me to take action and follow through.  May God grant each one of us in our own workplace and personal lives, the desire “to try new things,” the courage “to take risks,” the time “to celebrate successes,” and the perseverance “to fail and try again.”  

Current Needs:

  • Adelante Thrift is looking for a long-term volunteer who can drive our box truck for pick-up and delivery of large donated items.  A CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) is not required.  This volunteer must also be able to assist in lifting and loading/unloading heavy appliances and furniture.  This volunteer position has the potential to become a paid position at Adelante Thrift, for the right candidate. If you are interested in this volunteer position please fill out our volunteer form at