Israel Weldeslassie only began speaking English about a year ago when he moved to Arlington from Eritrea. Despite having to learn a new language and reading at about a first grade level, the 7th grader is making amazing progress and is enthusiastically optimistic about his new life. Much of his success is due to his AHC tutor, Steven Rentz.
The pair has formed a fast friendship. Steven works with Israel twice a week through AHC’s Teen Tutoring program and then meets with him for another two hours on Saturday. “Steven is making a huge difference to Israel’s progress,” said Julie Korona, AHC’s Resident Services Manager. “He is outstanding!”
“Volunteering is in my blood,” explained Steven, an instructional technology specialist at the National Cathedral School. “I chose AHC’s program because it’s small and everyone can interact and get involved. I really like the opportunity to work one on one.”
Israel is catching on quickly. He is gobbling up books like Curious George and clearly enjoys the nuances of the English language. He has big ambitions and would like to be an engineer and build houses when he grows up. His determination along with Steven’s dedication will undoubtedly help make that dream come true.
Photo: Israel and his tutor Steven Rentz have formed a fast friendship.