From the Field – Meet Volunteer Dennis and Student Elie

Story Provided by Literacy Program Tutor Dennis Cavaillé

Elie lived in California for two years. He is a regular musician at several local venues and working part-time at one of our local wineries. In pursuit of making California his home, he began research into obtaining a driver’s license and joined the Literacy Program.

Elie drove when he lived in the Congo, but California required that he take the written and driving tests here. He is fluent in French and learned that it was possible to take a French version of the California DMV test, but that California did not print a French version of the DMV manual. After several unsuccessful attempts to pass the French version of the test, he decided that he needed help with the manual in English.

Knowing that I’m fluent in French, Gisela contacted me to see if I could help Elie learn all he needed to know to pass the test in English. We met a couple of times a week for a month, going through the manual and taking practice tests. We sometimes used French to clarify and check for understanding, and along the way, Elie greatly improved his “rules of the road” vocabulary in English.

Elie passed the English version of the test on his very first try. We are very pleased with his accomplishments.

Learn more about the Literacy Program and how you can become a part of more students’ success stories.

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