Last year we received an email from someone who was moving to Fort Lauderdale and wanted to volunteer.
Thus begun our friendship with Dermot McQuarrie, a former Fox Sports executive (Executive Producer of Fox Sports Americas and General Manager for the Fox Soccer Channel.) He now runs his consultancy company from Fort Lauderdale. Dermot is originally from Scotland. He has lived and worked around the world.
Dermot relocated from California where he volunteered at the Mecca Elementary school to help the children of the field workers improve their English language skills. He was hooked.
This week Dermot began a 10-week class with 10 HUF clients who are learning English. We purchased inexpensive tablets. The students are learning English on a web-based software called Duolingo. (Once the students learn the basics, we will transition them to our onsite English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESL) class which is offered by Broward County Public Schools at HUF for the past 20+ years.)
This is what he had to say about his first class:
“I was delighted with our first night and the enthusiasm of the parents who attended. All of them have a little understanding of English and that’s good but more importantly is that they want to learn more. We have decided that once they walk in to the conference room we only speak English! – well unless there is something that they just can’t put over in English.
The first thing we went over was that there is no ‘verguenza’ in not being able to explain themselves in English and that ‘confidence’ is what we will also be learning. They are all delighted with that. I explained also that learning English will help them and also very importantly their children. All the students took to the course very well and actually one parent has it on her cell phone! Finally I want to say that I consider it a privilege and an honor to help the parents and thank you for allowing me to be part of this process.”
In a world where fear appears to dominate our discourse and many are calling for the building of walls, it is wonderful to encounter someone who possess such generosity of spirit and respect for other human beings.
Dermot is such a person and, he is enthusiastic about a different engineering structure. He enjoys building bridges.