It was a bit of organized chaos on December 7, when 50 staff members from CISabroad headed to ILI, picked up cleaning supplies and paint brushes, and set to work brightening up ILI’s common spaces and classrooms. In the words of ILI’s Executive Director Caroline Gear, “This is what ILI and community partners like CISabroad are all about!”
CISabroad is a national education-abroad organization that is based, like ILI, in Northampton. And each year, they choose a non-profit group to work with as part of their company’s commitment to teamwork and cultural awareness. This year, CISabroad chose ILI, and the results were outstanding. From painting several walls in the school’s administrative area to washing windows inside and out, cleaning walls and floors, and so much more – CISabroad staff brought their own brand of cheerfulness and diligence to ILI.
Some of the volunteers who completed their tasks early had time to meet with ILI’s international students and conduct mini interviews. The students and volunteers alike shared stories about themselves. One of the students exclaimed, “This my favorite day so far!”
“We chose ILI because they, like us, believe in strengthening intercultural ties and also because the free English classes for immigrants and refugees that ILI offers are particularly important right now,” said CISabroad President Kris Holloway. “As a bonus, we’re offering grants to our staff so they can take ILI’s evening languages courses in French, Spanish, and Arabic at a discount. It’s a great way to keep up our language skills.”
“And we’re offering reduced fees to CISabroad staff who sign up,” added Caroline. “It’s such a treat to work with a group that has so much in common with ILI. Our students come to western Massachusetts from across the United States and around the world, while CISabroad sends U.S. students to far-flung countries. We both strongly believe in building greater understanding of diverse cultures through enhanced language skills and intercultural experiences.”
What happens when enthusiastic volunteers give a fresh look ILI? Take a look. And if you want to volunteer at ILI as a tutor, for administrative work, as a Board member, and more, click on Volunteer on the ILI website, or give us a call at 413-586-7569.