Diane Effros

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What inspired you to become a volunteer at JFS of Greenwich?
I taught ESL for ten years through Literacy Volunteers. When I saw the opportunity to help resettle Afghan refugees through the JFS APA Program, I decided to use my experience to help improve the language skills of their clients.

What has been your most meaningful success story while working with JFS?
JFS asked me to be the lead volunteer for a large Afghan family, and I essentially became their family manager. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I took on this new role. While it was chaotic at times, it also had many wonderful moments. I got back as much as I gave, and really enjoyed learning about the Afghan culture.

Can you explain how your volunteer role expanded into the Ukrainian ESL group?
I was interested in broadening my volunteer work at JFS and began helping Ukrainian new arrivals. I was matched with a Ukrainian woman as a one-on-one ESL tutor, meeting weekly in her home to work on her English skills. After a few months of working closely with her, she made great improvements. It was such a positive experience, her Ukrainian neighbors asked to join our sessions.

What has been your most effective ESL resource?
Easy English News, which is a monthly newspaper that consolidates and simplifies the news in a dozen pages. It is a great tool for improving English, while also educating the client on cultural and world matters.

If you were granted a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
A friend of mine recently returned from Turkey, and everything about the country sounded fascinating. I would like to travel there with my husband and experience the vibrant culture and explore the delicious food.

What are your favorite hobbies?
I have been a dancer for over 30 years and have participated in many classes locally and in New York City. In the past I have also taught dance to children. Cooking is also an essential and therapeutic part of my life. Lastly, I enjoy gardening, traveling, and reading. The last book I read (and recommend) is Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson.