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Volunteer Stories

Subasish Bhowmik


Our ESOL program launched a new class specifically for foreign medical graduates this year, led by Subasish “Bosh” Bhowmik, a resident physician in Anesthesiology at Duke University Hospital. “I am interested in helping foreign medical graduates because my parents were foreign medical graduates themselves and they had to compromise their respective careers when they came to the States,” Bosh said. “I saw how difficult it was for a family when people have to compromise their careers and dreams, and I would like to make a difference in whatever way possible for families in similar predicaments.”


Cultural differences are some of the biggest challenges facing Bosh’s students, “given that much of verbal and non-verbal communication is culture-specific and the fact that healthcare is a field where communication is pivotal.” The class also focuses on medical terminology, the nuances of the American medical system, and licensing processes.


“Some of my students have said the class has given them joy because this was the first time in a long time that they could go through medical cases and practice medicine again,” Bosh reported, and “one of my students actually acquired a job as a surgical assistant with the skills she acquired from all of her DLC classes!”

This class helps students navigate the American medical system and gain the knowledge and skills that they need to recertify in the United States, while also giving their families the chance to gain socioeconomic stability. We’re grateful to Bosh for sharing his knowledge and experiences to give the DLC’s students this unique opportunity! 

Andrea Woods-Valdez


Andrea (right) started out as a volunteer ESOL class instructor. She and her co-instructor created a high-energy, interactive learning environment that kept students engaged and learning. Andrea then became an Adult Literacy tutor and worked one-on-one with Marion. Together, they moved through our basic literacy curriculum, tackled reading a bus schedule, and mastered the pronunciation of multisyllabic words. By the end of their work together, Marion was fully prepared for entry into our pre-GED reading class, where she continues to excel! Andrea continues to serve as a mentor to Marion, and her encouragement helps keep Marion moving toward her goal of earning a GED diploma.

Richard Brown & Mary Wakeford


Richard joined the DLC as a volunteer Teen Career Academy tutor. He worked one-on-one with teens who had left school prior to graduating, helping them prepare for GED tests and encouraging them to think about future education and career options. Later, Richard volunteered with our Adult Literacy program and became a member of our all-volunteer Board of Directors. Mary has served on our Board of Directors for over a year. We have benefited greatly from her enthusiasm and her many years of experience working with organizations such as El Centro Hispano and other grassroots groups.  

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