Intercambio gives language-learning opportunities

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If you go

What: Intercambio

When: 7 p.m. every Tuesday

Where: Boys & Girls Club of Craig, 1324 E. Highway 40

For more: Call Eveline Bacon at 970-824-6424 or e-mail learn@ciiccolorad...

— A group of four diverse people shared their culture and language Tuesday night at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig during a group meeting called Intercambio.

The word, when translated, means "exchange."

"We analyze every little thing because there are so many possibilities," said Ray Parfrey, of Craig, when talking about translating a popular Spanish song. Tuesday was Parfrey's third week participating at Intercambio.

Intercambio, is a weekly event organized by Integrated Community, a nonprofit organization that seeks to bridge the gap between the immigrant community with the receiving community through various services.

Intercambio is open to anyone who wishes to join in the group's mission while learning each other's languages and having fun. Intercambio has been around almost five years, as long as Integrated Community.

For Parfrey, it was curiosity that first led him to be interested in learning the Spanish language. For other members, it sometimes is for use at their work.

Eveline Bacon, the English as a Second Language program manager at Integrated Community, said Americans generally are interested in learning about other cultures but often don't get the chance of interacting with members of those different cultures, even in diverse places such as Craig.

Bacon said that through Intercambio, people are given that opportunity, and although Tuesday only four people attended, she said the group sometimes is as large as 15.

"There's always new people, a lot of people are interested, but I think everybody should come and enjoy it at least once," Bacon said.

During the meeting, participants took turns practicing to speak in both English and Spanish while learning and discussing differences in common language compared to literal translations. The group also sometimes listens to music and translates verses.

Bacon said there are more benefits to the group than learning different languages. She said people often are given the feeling of empowerment when they see they can help other people learn another language.

Parfrey agrees with Bacon.

"Well, I'm just starting up, but like tonight, I had a lot of fun, and I do feel I get a lot out of it," Parfrey said.

Intercambio is one way in which Integrated Community reaches out to the immigrant community.

The organization operates off of grants and often volunteers to provide formal English classes, translation services and resource referrals to help people learn where they can go for help with a variety of other services.

Yesenia Robles can be reached at 875-1790.

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