Nicole Diaz has been volunteering with the Backside Learning Center at English classes and Conversation Partners over summer break at Bellarmine. She actually first heard about the BLC from her college class on the Kentucky Derby. Nicole was intrigued by the people who live and work at the Backside and sought to get involved!
Nicole’s sense of connection with backside workers also comes from her personal life. Her father is Dominican, and she practices Spanish with him on a daily basis. As a kid, she watched him walk to English classes when the family only had one car. This kind of determination is mirrored in the hard work of the English students at the BLC as they come to class after a hard day at work. Even though she can practice Spanish with her father, and she heard Spanish from a young age in the Hispanic community she grew up with in Shelbyville, Kentucky, nothing beats practicing with the BLC students. She says she has learned new vocabulary, and the practice has given her confidence to have whole conversations.
Nicole’s Spanish improvement has not come without her generously giving her time and energy. Nicole started out helping in the English classroom, where she assisted our English teachers with the lesson, activities, and games. She went on to work with the advanced class, which she now teaches herself every week. Nicole also took on another role in helping with Conversation Partners program. She shows up early to assist in prepping the snack and greet the students as they come in the door. The students have become comfortable with her and confide in her.
“One always tells me that his English is no good! Even though it is very good. I always try to hype him up and encourage him,” Nicole says. The BLC is extremely grateful to Nicole for showing up and being such a kind and helpful asset to our programs. We wish her the best in her fall semester!