- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

LAFAYETTE, Colo. (AP) - A Boulder County nonprofit organization that teaches English to immigrants is having a problem attracting tutors, creating a waiting list for people who want to become self-sufficient and contribute to the community.

Lafayette Mayor Christine Berg, who was a volunteer tutor for Intercambio, said the organization has important roots in the community.

She met individually with her student, and seven years later, they are still friends.

“I think the important thing for me is that Intercambio brings communities together and people who normally don’t have the opportunity to share experiences,” Berg said.

In Lafayette, where the immigrant community is large, these connections are vital. Intercambio has an office in the Lafayette Public Library, but it also has a waiting list of 263 non-English speaking immigrants seeking language classes. There are also shortages of volunteers at Intercambio’s Longmont and Boulder locations.

Those seeking individual tutors may wait a year or longer, the Longmont Times-Call reported (https://tinyurl.com/pbq8ptd).

“There is a very large immigrant population and we just haven’t tapped into the volunteers to match that,” said Rachel Fuchs, Intercambio director of programs.

Berg said Lafayette is a town that embraces diversity, and citizens need to work to help build bridges between immigrants and non-immigrants.

“It’s imperative that people feel embraced and welcome in Lafayette,” Berg said. “Language is such a personal thing and it’s such an important thing to be able to communicate with your community.”

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Information from: Daily Times-Call, https://timescall.com/

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