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mi nombre es patricio

JV Patrick Vale (Gresham, OR ’13-14) is a man of many talents. He is an avid runner and biker, a phenomenal singer, and a talented public speaker. Oh, and did we mention he’s fluent in Spanish? As the Anti-Poverty Specialist with Catholic Charities of Oregon Patrick works extensively with native Spanish speakers, so when St. Henry Parish was looking for a way to better engage Latino and Spanish-speaking parishioners, who better to step up than Patrick? Current board member and St. Henry’s parishioner Mary Ann Buck (Omak, WA ’68-70) explains how it all happened.


PatrickValeSpanishClass¿Habla español ?

Many of the JVs are fluent in Spanish and some use it almost exclusively in their job placements.  Patrick Vale is one of them.  He works this year at El Programma Hispano in Gresham.

While attending Orientation last August, Sharon Williams, who was participating in the Jesuit Volunteer Encorps program, met Patrick and off-handedly asked him if he’d be willing to help people from the Gresham St. Henry Parish community learn Spanish.  Without hesitation he said, “Sure!”  And so the seed was planted for a Spanish language and culture class for parishioners, sponsored by the parish Peace and Justice Committee.

Sixty enthusiastic parishioners met for nine weeks on Monday evenings, learning basic Spanish phrases and structure from their teacher, ‘Patricio.’  His creative and informative style put folks at ease and before long, they were able to converse in some, albeit simple, sentences.  At the end of the nine week period, they celebrated with a fiesta and participated in a lively ‘Jeopardy’ style ‘final.’

But the learning won’t stop there.  Patrick is organizing an opportunity for class participants to team up, one on one, with clients from El Programma, so they can continue to build their Spanish skills, while helping clients hone their English skills.   And chances are relationships will develop between the two cultures which will break down more walls than language!

The classes were also featured in a story from the Catholic Sentinel and can be found here.

3 thoughts on “mi nombre es patricio”

  1. I want to congratulate Patricio for this great idea!
    Although I live in the north of Spain, very far away from Oregon, I would love to be able to participate online maybe or via email on any activity to increase my English and their Spanish. I am from Mexico so I could understand not only their language but also their culture.
    Gracias Patrick por esta maravillosa idea. Sé lo que es trabajar con las familias migrantes Mexicanas, tendrás una experiencia inolvidable como la tuve yo hace ya casi 20 años! saludos desde Gernika!

  2. Saludos, muchas gracias por compartir una nota con nosotros y por su servicio como voluntaria Jesuita. Le agradecemos mucho por acompañar nuestra comunidad desde Gernika España. Mandare saludos a Patricio por su parte. Nos encantaría saber más acerca de su experiencia como voluntaria Jesuita en Woodburn, nos puede compartir un pequeño relato sobre lo que vivió como voluntaria?
    Un abrazo
    -JVC Northwest

  3. Ms. Torres Woodburn,

    Northern Spain! Que maravilla, no? Estudie en Barcelona hace tres anos– la Universidad Pompeu Fabra. Todavia estoy enamorado de Catalonia.

    Gracias por sus palabras tan amables. De hecho, he completado mi ano en Gresham y ahora estoy otra vez en la costa este, buscando empleo parecido a lo que hice alli en Gresham.

    La oportunidad de compartir mi vida con la gente que conoci en El Program Hispano fue un placer que cambio mi vida. Como dice Usted, fue inolvidable. Diria yo que mas que todo, fue un ano lleno de amor y comunidad– comunidad que no anticipaba.

    Si todavia tiene interes en lo que esta pasando con El Programa Hispano en cuanto al intercambio de lenguage, le urjo que pongase en contacto con ellos directamente.

    Saludos desde Boston!



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Zayna Abusada (Ashland, MT ’17-18, Anchorage, AK ’18-19) was most recently a JV in south-central Alaska serving with immigrant and refugee English-Language learners as the Academy for Citizenship and Civics Support Specialist with the Alaska Literacy Program (ALP) in Anchorage. Zayna first served with Indigenous students on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Zayna went on to earn her undergraduate degree in History and Theological Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Louis University.

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