To the editor:
The spirit of hospitality is alive and well, and this summer it manifested itself in very special ways in our community. International student workers from 10 countries were here working in our hotels, motels, restaurants, cafes and shops. Many of them worked at two jobs; they were away from their families and friends and making all the adjustments necessary to live and work in a new culture. Their English language skills varied, but they all shared a desire to improve their skills and communicate more fluently. They proudly accomplished their mission with the help of Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties.
Their progress was abetted by the friendly and helpful staff of the Lake Placid Public Library. The students always received a warm welcome as they headed to their LVEFC tutoring sessions and evening classes. The library often looked like a mini international university with literacy volunteer tutoring going on downstairs, students on the computers on the second floor and students checking out books on the main floor. To their amazement, all of this was free!
These international student workers also met some incredibly kind and hospitable members of St. Eustace Church who provided them with a weekly gathering place for potluck suppers and great conversations. From the friendships made there came offers to go hiking and boating, to visit the Olympic Museum and Whiteface, to go to the ballet at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, and to visit farms and an animal hospital. These offers were eagerly and appreciatively accepted. What a positive impact they had! It takes a village to create an accurate impression of the American spirit.
Without the generosity and friendship extended to them, they would have experienced very little beyond the route of the trolley, another service they were so grateful to have. To all those who befriended these hard-working and talented young people from China, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Turkey and Russia, a most sincere thank-you for sending them home with some wonderful memories. And to these students, thank you for your resiliency, enthusiasm and friendship. We will miss you.