Prof. Ken Gobbo
Associate Professor of Psychology
March 28, 2012
It is my pleasure to write this letter which reports in my recent experience working with Hellen Rojas and her organization ILISA. I have known about the organization for a few years, and last summer I talked with them about the possibility of organizing an “Alternative Spring Break” program for Landmark College. This past March I travelled with a group of 7 students to Costa Rica. Our program’s focus was volunteer work with elementary school students who were learning to speak English. Hellen and her team did a very good job in organizing our volunteer work. Together with her staff she set up five school visits that allowed my students to work with small groups of seconds, third, and fourth graders at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt School in San Pedro. Her Spanish instructors cooperated with the school’s English Department to arrange for well organized lessons that included related practice activities in small groups and get some experience using the Spanish they were learning, while children got an opportunity to practice the English skills they had been working on. It was truly a win-win situation for my students and the children at the school.
ILISA also organized two weekend excursions as well as home stays with local families for the Landmark students. Students were assigned two to a family. The families all seemed to take an interest in the students, and were more than willing to help the students with their efforts to learn Spanish. All the “in Country” on the ground organization was completed by ILISA Staff with a great deal of attention to detail.
I was most impressed with the genuine caring that Hellen and her team showed for our students. This caring show in their daily work, and I think that as result, all seven students had a very good experience during their week in Costa Rica. They had the opportunity to interact with many local residents, learned about the culture, and had a good experience at the local elementary school. Parents of students and administrators at the college all expressed a great deal of satisfaction with the program that ILISA helped to put together. I would be happy to work with this very professional and caring organization again in the future.