West Essex YMCA Expands Free English as a Second Language Class to Kids

Tatiana Radyukevich, Anna Ginzburg, and Michael Ginzburg read together from a newspaper during free ESL class at the West Essex YMCA Credits: Anshul Nayar

LIVINGSTON, NJ — A free English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the West Essex YMCA that is aimed toward immigrants and English language learners is currently expanding to include children.

The conversational English class has been offered on Sundays since late 2016 and is now also offered on Tuesdays to any area residents from a variety of backgrounds, ages and ethnicities looking to break down the language barrier. Anshul Nayar, a Millburn High School student who founded the program, said that after working with adults, helping children seems like the next logical step.

“Because many immigrant children are thrown into the public school system without much of a safety net, I think there is a big hole that community classes such as ours can help fill,” he said. “We can also help with questions they may have about their schoolwork.”

Sign Up for E-News

Nayar said the main benefit for children would come from simply practicing conversing with native English speakers who are relatively close in age.

“With this practice, I am confident that they will realize that doing so in school is well within their reach,” he said.

As a yearlong project in 10th grade, Nayar studied the English language barrier in America, which enlightened him about the immense language and cultural barriers that immigrants “must overcome to become ‘Americans.’”

“After seeing the lack of funding and attention that is paid to this growing issue, I thought that starting my own ESL class at the YMCA could be my way of helping work toward a solution,” he said.

Through the YMCA Togetherhood Committee, Cheryl Francione, associate executive director at the time, guided Nayar in initiating this program at the Y. According to Executive Director Helen Flores, Francione gave Nayar “the freedom to spread his wings and reach out to an underserved population in our community.” 

“ESL is such an important, free program for our community,” said Francione. “Those who are learning English get to choose where they need help—from everyday conversations to preparing for a job interview. It helps them feel more confident and comfortable.”

Considering that Nayar is not a formally trained ESL teacher, he was not sure if his program would be successful, but counted on his experiences in learning Hindi and Spanish to help others learn conversational English and has been doing so ever since.

“It’s been such a rewarding experience both from those who want to improve their spoken English and those who want to help others assimilate,” said Nayar. “Everyone shows up every single week, enthusiastic to learn and teach. Seeing the joy this brings them has been the most rewarding aspect.”

According to his mother, Suchita, who also volunteers as an ESL teacher at the Y, there is one Russian couple that never misses a week.  The couple is attempting to improve their spoken English in order to improve communication with their American granddaughters.

Other adult students currently include an immigrant from Mexico who is working to improve his speaking skills in order to expand his small painting business, and a young mother who grew up in China and hopes to enhance her overall English comprehension as well as job-interview skills. There are currently nearly a dozen students in the program, but Nayar and the other volunteers are confident that it will grow.

Nayar said his favorite thing about the program is seeing how excited the students are to start class every week.

“Seeing that one is making a real difference, however small it may be, in someone else’s life is very gratifying,” said Nayar. “In addition to spoken English, we also focus on cultural holidays. This strong sense of community is probably what leads them to return each week. After sharing laughs over mistakes that are typical for new language learners, we now feel a true comfort with each other that takes time and effort to develop.”

Flores said Nayar is a caring individual who recognized the difficulty immigrants were having getting assimilated into American culture, especially in the language arena.

“Through the Togetherhood program at the Y, this ESL program in conversational English grew and because of Anshul’s attitude, commitment and patience, it continues today,” said Flores. “I am grateful for the impact this young man is making in our Y community and pleased that he has chosen our Y to utilize his skills.”

Interested residents can get involved either as teachers or students. Both members and non-members of the Y are welcome to join for free. For more information or to become involved, call the YMCA at 973-992-7500 or contact Helen Flores, executive director, at

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

April 17, 2018

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

MAX Challenge of West Orange - 2 Weeks FREE and more...

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The MAX Challenge of West Orange is about to start its next challenge.  Sign up before April 9, and you will receive maximum benefits, including two weeks free!



12 weeks for the price of 10
Unlimited fitness classes 
Nutritional ...

deAmour Salon - Complimentary Blowout with Other Select Services - $40+ Value

Millburn, NJ - Salon Profilo in Milburn has recently rebranded to deAmour Salon & Spa! In celebration, owners Roula and Grace are inviting new and existing clients to enjoy a complimentary blowout with any color service. Call (973) 379-8300 to schedule your appointment. Promo code: TAP COLOR

deAmor Salon specializes in multiple coloring techniques and stays current on industry ...

Guerrero Martial Arts Kids - 50% OFF

CALDWELL, NJ - Guerrero Martial Arts in Caldwell is offering 50% off of their regular 6 week trial program.  Regular price of $69 is being slashed in half to only $34.59 for a limited time only. 

Redeem this discount by clicking HERE and entering in coupon code: TAPKIDS

Six week package includes 12 lessons (2x per week) and a uniform!

" Martial arts ...

Man Charged With Kidnapping and Assaulting Essex County Victim

April 16, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – A New York man appeared in federal court last week to face allegations that he assaulted and kidnapped an individual who had a protection order against him, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Rudolf Szoradi, 50, is charged by four-count criminal complaint with kidnapping, transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines, interstate domestic violence and interstate ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

West Orange High School, West Orange

FREE self-defense and safety seminar for teens ...

Health & Wellness


Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity


Letter to the Editor: Lions Club of West Orange Spaghetti Dinner

April 16, 2018

Dear Editor,

Since 1953, the Lions Club of West Orange has been recognized throughout the township for our service to the blind and visually impaired. A majority of the world’s eye banks, clinics, and eye research centers are established and supported by all Lions Clubs throughout the world.

We are men and women committed to helping provide quality eye care, eye ...

West Orange Community House Seeks Community Sponsors

April 17, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Boys & Girls Club at the West Orange Community House (WOCH) has opened its new 9,000 square foot recreational facility at 250 Main Street in West Orange.

The WOCH has been supporting families of West Orange for 100 years, and needs help to continue providing much-needed recreational programs to West Orange. By placing an advertisement banner on the gym ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...