OUR Vision

All immigrants have access to the education and support they need to achieve their goals

OUR MISSION

To provide affordable English-language instruction and workforce programs to adult immigrants using volunteers

OUR values

Each day, in every interaction, we will be...

  • Community-focused: fostering meaningful, positive connections among students, volunteers, and staff
  • Respectful & Empathetic: recognizing the dignity of each person; striving to understand and appreciate their experiences, feelings, and beliefs
  • Inclusive & Accepting: inviting the full participation of people as individuals, in their own voices, and encouraging a diversity of perspectives
  • Adaptable: responding to changing situations or new information; open to multiple outcomes or multiple paths to the same outcome
  • Student-centered: appreciating the unique goals and motivations expressed by each adult learner
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Our History

In 1993-- at the request of Our Lady Queen of the Americas Catholic Church-a handful of volunteers began teaching evening and Sunday classes to 200 parishioners from Central America. With access to just a single computer, the program focused on English as a Second Language (ESL), Graduate Equivalency Degrees (GED), and US Citizenship classes. Job openings were posted on a bulletin board in the hallway.

From these humble beginnings, Washington English Center has expanded its English literacy education and workforce preparation programs to adult immigrants from across the greater Washington area. Today, students representing over 100 countries are supported by 350 volunteers each term. These committed, well-trained volunteers act as teachers, tutors, computer lab assistants, librarians, job coaches and mentors.

Today's students use a well-equipped and staffed computer lab for language lesson reinforcement, computer literacy instruction, and job searches. The Employment Services program combines job counseling with industry certifications, resumé-writing and interviewing workshops, and career fairs with dozens of local employers. Extracurricular clubs, field trips, and community services and health fairs combine to create a strong sense of community.

Our Founder
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PILAR LAUGEL (1934-2014)

As we celebrate the accomplishments of our students year after year, we do so with profound admiration for our founder, Pilar Laugel.

Pilar provided the initial vision for Washington English Center (formerly known as  Language ETC) and was the motivating force behind this thriving, community-based organization for many years.

In addition to her dedication to WEC, Pilar worked closely with the Ethiopian Community Center, volunteered tirelessly with Hospice, and was an active member of the Board of Directors of the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School.