MILLEDGEVILLE — For a non-native speaker of English, learning the language is essential to integration into the community. In an area where English is the primary language, mastering this skill and breaking through the language barrier can offer several opportunities, but learning a new language can be a challenging and difficult task to tackle on your own. Here in Milledgeville, there is a place that offers support and education for non-English speakers of the community.
Katherin Smith, Shelia Collins and Barbara Goolsby are members of Northside Baptist Church who work hard to spread their blessings to the community at large. Together they run an ESL program, sharing the power and knowledge of the English language to their students.
“Our programs have highly successful results because of the attention to individual needs of the students,” said John Milledge Academy Spanish teacher Kathrin Smith. Not only does Smith teach a Spanish program for first through eighth graders at JMA, she is also one of the instructors for the ESL program at Northside.
Goolsby teaches the level one class while Collins and Smith teach level two and three. Collins is from the Milledgeville area and has been a part of the home school community for many years. She home-schooled all four of her children and has been active in missions at Northside for many years. Goolsby is the newest member to the ESL team at Northside. Goolsby is originally from Albany but has been part of the community of Baldwin County for more than 20 years.
The idea for the program first came to Collins.
“Little over a year ago, my friend Shelia approached me about beginning a faith-based ESL ministry. She followed up with our pastor, Dr. Jerry Pickard, who was very excited at the prospect of beginning this type of ministry,” Smith said.