Our Community


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


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


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

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

responding to changing situations or new information; open to multiple outcomes or multiple paths to the same outcome

appreciating the unique goals and motivations expressed by each adult learner

Our Impact and Reach

1,253 Students


94 Countries of Origin


47 Languages Spoken (besides English)


$44,920 in Scholarships


941 Volunteers


$2.27M+ in Donated Time

These figures come from our most recent Annual Report.
Click her to seen even more detail about FY2023.
Click here to see our classes



Company Photo
Company Photo
Company Photo

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.

WEC partners with community organizations to ensure that our students have access to all the services they need - not just English classes. Whether it's health, career, legal, or other services, we offer numerous partner tabling events and info sessions to connect learners with life-changing resources. WEC also offers special-interest field trips, club, and social activities.. These extracurriculars build a sense of community and contribute to our vision that all immigrants have access to the support they need to achieve their goals.

Our Founder


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.