El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
A sure sign of spring at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services is the action at the three picnic tables under the pear tree. Depending on the time of day, a visitor arriving in the parking lot might see little girls playing school, or boys and girls hopping from table to bench trying to reach the tree branches, or students shouting out math facts in response to their tutor’s flash cards.
If it is a Tuesday or Thursday mid-morning, perhaps the tables are spread with green-checked cloths and a hot meal, and the toddlers from our parent-child education program are folding their hands to give thanks. Or perhaps the children are all in their classrooms for tutoring and a few mothers sit in the shade with their babies, enjoying some rare moments of tranquility.
This is the favorite spot for language-learning pairs like Luis and Jean to delve into their textbooks, and, all too infrequently, for staff to share lunch. The community garden plot is in sight from this vantage point, as are the soccer field and the playground. Someone sitting there on a weekday afternoon would see an endless stream of activity, beginning with the arrival of the school bus from Old Town Elementary at 2:30 and ending at dusk when the last soccer players drift off toward home.
Some who first came to El Buen Pastor LCS to participate in a planned program or receive services have now immersed themselves in the life of the community, gathering here with family and friends throughout the week. Some who came to donate their time to educate others now find themselves on the receiving end of friendship and life lessons. I am grateful for the countless volunteers and donors who come with open minds and open hearts to make this a place of welcome and peace for Spanish-speaking immigrant families in the midst of our community. You have a standing invitation to come sit under the tree for a few peaceful moments to celebrate the vibrancy of shared lives.
Mary Bolton, Executive Director