Laingsburg Junior Wins Local Award for Service Work
A few times a week, Laingsburg junior Mike Malloy goes to the migrant farm in St. Louis, where he does English as a Second Language instruction for three or four hours at a time.
Working with the Fulton Adult Education Program, which is joined by the Mid-Michigan Literacy Program in support of this instruction, the math and Spanish major has been teaching English to migrant workers since this past September.
“I love it because it’s a great exchange of English and Spanish,” says Malloy. “I get to practice my Spanish, and the workers get to practice their English, with the hope that they will feel comfortable enough to go out and communicate with everyone else in their surroundings.”
Mike Malloy (on the right)
This experience, in which he also teaches at a farm in Ovid and plans lessons, has been rewarding in a more literal way as well. Malloy was recently invited to a dinner celebrating the new Wilcox Non Profit Center in Alma, where he was presented with the Gratiot County United Way Helping Hands Award for his service work.
“I had no clue whatsoever that I would be receiving any kind of award,” he says. “I was blown away. I didn’t necessarily realize I was doing something of such importance.”
Malloy, who has been involved in service work since high school, says his reasons for volunteering are simple.
“I think it’s inherent,” he says. “I enjoy helping people. It’s just another way of sharing life. I enjoy sharing my life and receiving the life of another in return.”
For Malloy, this has meant listening to the stories of the migrant workers, who often work to pay back the person who helped them get into the United States while simultaneously sending money back to their family and supporting themselves, he says.
These struggles quickly became a reality for him during an Alternative Break trip this past winter break. In El Paso, he worked with Project Puente, a non-profit organization located along the United States and Mexican border that offers a border immersion program.
In addition to speaking to people who had crossed the border, he also saw for himself where many of the migrant workers from Mexico came through to the U.S.
“To hear their struggles so far from where it happened and then to visit where it did happen was eye-opening,” says Malloy. “The farm in Ovid is ten minutes away from where I’m from, and until I started volunteering, I had no idea it was there. I feel even more inspired and encouraged to study immigration law now.”
Posted: Wed, April 21st, 2010 at 1:13PM