Thunder Bay

Language Cafe encourages people to practice English or French through conversation

People in Thunder Bay, Ont., who are looking to brush up on their English or French speaking skills now have a free service to help them practice, thanks to the local Salvation Army.

The program will run every Monday at 3 p.m. at the Salvation Army Church

The Salvation Army Church will be running a Language Cafe program to help individuals who are looking to practice their English and French. The program will run every Monday from 3 p.m to 4:30 p.m., all summer long, except for statutory holidays. (The Salvation Army Thunder Bay / Facebook)

People in Thunder Bay, Ont., who are looking to brush up on their English or French now have a free service to help them practice, thanks to the local Salvation Army.

"In Thunder Bay there's a number of newcomers and international students that are here wanting to learn English or even French," said Rachel Sheils, the co-pastor at the Salvation Army Church. "So it's an opportunity for those individuals to come practice their English to improve."

She said a one-year Multicultural Community Capacity Grant from the federal government has helped them set up a Language Cafe program that will take place at the church on Victoria Avenue East every Monday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — all summer long.

"It's a free drop-in [so] people just come in, we assess their basic level of English, and then we put them at tables with someone, and so they talk either one-on-one or one-on-two and they get to practice their English," Sheils explained.

She said she believes practicing by conversing with one another for at least an hour is equivalent to approximately 40 hours in a classroom.

"In a course, you do repetitive work, but in a conversation style ... you have to pull all your learning together, so it stretches your brain and your memory."

Currently, the program is looking for more volunteers who can fluently speak French and are willing to come to the church every Monday, all summer long, except for statutory holidays.

Anyone interested in volunteering their time can do so by contacting the Salvation Army Church.