When Craig McManus retired a year and half ago, one thing he didn’t plan on was volunteering at B5 with his wife Megan. It took a few months for him to learn that “just sitting around” wasn’t working for him. He started thinking about where he wanted to serve as a retiree. Previously, he’d volunteered at his church, working both with children and adults. Last winter, when Megan asked him to come along with her to help with English classes, just to see, he did. He liked the idea that he might be able to use the Spanish he’d learned back in high school and college.

Now Craig and Megan volunteer together weekly at B5’s adult English language classes. Last Thursday, they each met with a small group of students to converse and work on assignments from their teachers.

Craig says, “one of the reasons why I really didn’t want to volunteer here to start with is because the only thing I knew about immigration was what I watched on the news… but when I came here, all I see is the human side of it. These are people that are wonderful people…They have everyday issues just like we do. So that was good for me to see that.”

Craig appreciates getting to know the students he works with, seeing their hard work and progress in learning English.

B5 Volunteer Coordinator Lois Douglass says that volunteers like Megan and Craig help B5 do more for students. They provide more individualized attention, and more time to practice English conversation skills. Part of B5’s mission is to equip new arrivals with knowledge, friendship, and guidance. Volunteers build relationships with refugees and immigrants, strengthening the community we are creating together.

Do you wonder if volunteering at B5 is something you could do? The place to start is here on our website. All potential volunteers are asked to fill out an application. There is a background check as well. You’ll be contacted for an orientation. Besides people to help adults learn English, other volunteers are needed to read with children after school. You don’t have to be a teacher or know another language to help. Why not be like Craig, and come see what you can do?