English In Action is dedicated to helping immigrants learn English and develop the skills they need to pursue their dreams. We also bridge cultural divides and offer opportunities to celebrate and learn about our diverse community. We are a nonprofit organization based in the Roaring Fork Valley of western Colorado.
Most of us have experienced the intense frustration of not being able to express ourselves adequately. For Roaring Fork Valley residents who speak little or no English, this is a daily––often debilitating––experience. English In Action was founded in 1994 to bridge this communication gap. Our mission is to strengthen the quality of life for everyone in our community by helping adult immigrants learn to read, write and speak English, and by cultivating cross-cultural relationships. We do this through one-on-one and small group tutoring and specialized workshops designed to help students overcome obstacles to learning English. The direct result of these programs is that our adult students are able to get better jobs, seek medical attention when their kids are sick, support their children in school, more effectively manage the logistics of daily life, and become fully engaged members of our community. Additionally, while learning English is the foundation of our tutoring program, we are pleased to report that our adult students and volunteer tutors often develop deep and enduring friendships.
Breaking down cultural barriers is no easy feat. However, the benefits of nurturing a more integrated, compassionate and harmonious community––in which everyone has a voice––are immeasurable.
In the 1980s, an increasing number of new immigrants—predominantly from Mexico and Central America—settled in the Roaring Fork Valley. Many took jobs in the service and construction industries and became a vital part of our local community. Some of these new immigrants struggled to learn English and cultural divides developed in some sectors of our community.
In 1994, the Basalt Regional Library launched the Adult Literacy Program, with the goal of finding ways to better serve all members of the community, regardless of their ability to speak English. For many years, the program served a few dozen one-on-one tutoring pairs who focused on learning English and bridging the cultural divide.
By 2005, the number of pairs had grown to more than 60, and the program could no longer be housed within the library’s then limited space. The program spun off from the library and, under the direction of Founder Julie Fox-Rubin, became “English In Action.”
From 2005-2008, English In Action operated under the umbrella of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Corporation, based in Denver. The organization became a fully independent nonprofit organization in 2008, coinciding with the hiring of current executive director, Lara Beaulieu. The organization now has a primary office in El Jebel, a satellite office in the Pitkin County Library in Aspen and maintains strong relationships with the Basalt Regional Library.