The Encourager Professor

2020 n07

With over 300 active volunteers, KIN representatives serve the international population of metro Knoxville in many ways. Only a few of those have changed since we began facing COVID-19. For example, while it may look a little different, one-on-one conversation and pronunciation practice continues.

Diane* began volunteering with KIN last fall. Completely in line with her education and experience in the business world, she helped a couple of international women with their pronunciation skills and conversational English. Friendships formed quickly.

That’s why, when an advanced English speaker lamented (during a virtual conference about American culture) that he needed more practice and wanted to lessen his distinctive accent, our volunteer outreach coordinator knew just who to call! After only a couple of weeks, Diane and her new student have remotely met three times. Diane says, “He is [already] incorporating some of the pronunciation distinctions we’ve worked on. Even more, though, we have built a wonderful rapport. His faith and gratitude are so touching to me and uplift me, too, at the time of fear and anxiety with Corona virus.”

Diane’s student (a PhD himself) emailed her, “You came directly from the Heavens in this time like an answer to prayers. You are such an encourager professor, which helps me increase my self-esteem, and I think you help me improve.”

Diane told us, “Even though I may be helping just a couple of people at a time, either in person (pre-COVID-19) or remotely, I feel blessed to help others improve their ability to be understood and to gain confidence in their communication skills. If we can become friends, that’s an even greater blessing.”


KIN isn’t the loudest or the biggest nonprofit in metro Knoxville, but you can be sure we continue to serve and support our international friends through this difficult time! If you want to be part of our quiet work, start the volunteer application today by clicking here. You can also quietly financially support what we’re doing through making a donation here.

*Name changed for privacy.

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