Bridging the Language Gap

Bridges free us from the burden of gaps. They help us cross barriers that would otherwise hinder our ability to progress.

The divide between people who speak different languages seems wide but is so simple to solve. Five of our Boy With a Ball team members volunteered at the Berkmar High School Parents’ Night in February in order to bridge the language gap. And it was transformative.

Our team, which consisted of four Spanish interpreters and one French interpreter, attended the night in hopes of connecting deeper into the school’s diverse culture and expanding the network of students to join our Velocity mentoring program. The story they saw unfold was unexpected and transformative. Stories of clarification like the young boy who was in trouble for texting in class came to resolve when the teacher learned he wasn’t texting at all. He was translating her English because he couldn’t understand what she was asking of him. Stories of vulnerability like the young boy who sat silent when the teacher asked him to answer her questions were humbling when he explained he didn’t answer because he wasn’t confident in his accent and had a fear of being made fun of. The stories kept coming, and by the end of the three hours there, the team left satisfied and humbled by the students’ willingness to be open and seek help, the parent’s desire to learn, and the teacher’s heart to present solutions.

We continue to see the effects of the language gaps in places where we can serve the community. Since the interpreting night at Berkmar, we have started English as second language classes which produce weekly growth.