Please join us in welcoming out newest volunteer, Peter Harvey, who will be taking over as the Director of ESOL Programs. But before we introduce you to Peter, we would be remiss if we did not recognize John Swords, our former director, for his dedicated and faithful leadership to growing the ESOL program. John’s commitment to the students and instructors has changed the lives of our graduates and for that, we offer our deepest thanks and appreciation.

We sat down with Peter to learn more about him and his role at A Faith That Does Justice:

How did you get involved with A Faith That Does Justice?

I got involved through St. Cecelia’s where I met Karen Mcmenamy who is also a volunteer. She told me about the organization’s mission and I’ve always done working helping underprivileged individuals, mostly inner-city kids, so it felt like a good fit for me. Life can be so daunting, and they can get lost, but we can offer programs that can help these individuals stay on a path of continuous development. That is what America is about.

Tell us about your new role.

My role is managing the recruiting, teaching, and advancement of the program as it grows. Our goal is to increase the class sizes, the number of classes, and the curriculum itself. For the upcoming fall session, we will have 3 classes and if we can expand that, we’ll do it over time. Our program helps people who are beginner level, which means they really don’t speak English at all.  We want to help them get over that first hurdle in a beginner’s class so that they can continue to advance. We have built a relationship with Jewish Vocational Services (JVS), which establishes the curriculum for the classes. Upon completing the class, graduates can become candidates in the JVS program to help them with their careers.

Where are you from and why did you move to Boston?

I am originally from New York. At an early age, I started a business in the contracting space. Then I went back to college and into business world. 17 years ago, I started my own company. I moved to Boston with my wife and family, as she is from this area as we wanted to be closer to her family.

Tell us a little-known fact about yourself.

People think I’m a very white collar, corporate kind of guy but really, my passion is building things. I’ve been building things since I was a little kid – from a sandcastle to a house. I went to school for architecture and I love creating things.

You can learn more about our ESOL program on our blog here.