Jasmine Cardi

You know the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you see a crackling fireplace? A mug of hot chocolate? Warm chocolate chip cookies? Today I felt that as I witnessed some of our ESOL students see snow for the first time. They were on the computer doing a lesson when a woman looks over and says, “Wow! It’s snowing.” Two women in the class had never seen snow before in their lives. They walked over to the window and were so happy and amazed to see the flurries. A few students, including the teacher who is from Peru, began sharing stories with one another about the first time they experienced snow. It was quite amazing to witness!

Rizgar (student), Leah and Luisa

Last week we said goodbye to one of our ESL teachers, Leah Atruia. She found a job teaching in another city. Leah has been with us for over a year. Her students appreciated her very much. On her last day with us, one of our colleagues, Luisa, baked her a cake. Both of our ESL classes joined together for a going away coffee and cake. There was such a sense of appreciation from both Leah and from the students. They are so grateful for what they have learned in the past year. Although we are sad to see her go we wish her the best.

Jasmine Cardi
This photo is of two of our citizenship students. Acenscion to my left and Olga to my right were both applying for a passport on Passport Day. The American Place extends its passport services for the entire day to accomodate the people who become naturalized citizens. Passport Day is usually on the first Friday of the month. This is such special day for them. They have studied long and hard and this is the final step in their citizenship journey. Once they obtain a passport they are free to travel in and out of the country as they please without worry. Some people have said they feel as a if a big weight has been lifted from their shoulders. For many earning citizenship has been quite the process. This includes learning how to read, speak and write in English and learning about our government and history. Acenscion has studied in our Spanish Citizenship Class for over a year. She is in her 70′s and was nervous about her test. Olga is in her 60′s and was also nervous. Her test date happened to fall on my birthday and just a few days past her own birthday. Although both ladies were nervous they supported each other and kept a good attitude. They studied and were well prepared and now they are proud U.S. Citizens! Congratulations!
Getting to Zero

Jasmine Cardi

On Friday the Hartford Public Library had its first Staff Development Day. All of the libraries in Hartford were closed and all the staff met at the main branch. Our morning started off very intensely with Andy Stefanovich. Simply put he is a motivational speaker who has worked with many of the top leading companies in the world to inspire them to think creatively. Andy Stefanovich is Chief Curator and Provocateur at Prophet, a strategic brand and marketing consultancy. In 2 hours he shared a great deal of information with us. Two of the things that struck me the most were about passion and relaxing. If we really think about it we spend most of our time at work. If we can think of something we are passionate about and dissect it to find what are the qualities of our passion then we can apply that to our work environment.(Passion in action) For me I love helping people. Each day I get a chance to help many people that walk into the library. The idea of knowing what characteristics make up your passion and being able to find it in other things is great. It makes me think about things in a different perspective. (Which Andy also spoke about in great detail) The second thing that struck me was getting to zero. Getting to zero refers to getting to your relaxing point. I am not referring to getting a massage relaxed. I mean, that is great but is not likely to happen on a daily basis. What I think Andy meant was doing something that helps you release the stress of the day and have a little “you” time to regroup or just clear your mind. Helping people takes a lot of energy. Regardless of the weather, how you are feeling or other stress factors you have a task to perform once those doors open. You are ON and the show must go on. Without getting to zero sharing your passion, or enjoying your passion, might become difficult. For me, getting to zero sometimes includes a trip to First & Last Bakery before I start my day. I sit alone and enjoy a quiet breakfast and a hot cup of coffee. These 30 minutes before I start work are very important to me. It allows me to clear my mind and prepare for the day ahead. What Andy shared with us seemed like basic things that many take for granted. It was nice to be reminded how these small things we can easily take for granted can make or break our day. We do not need to sacrifice our passion or ourselves for our job. The idea is if you find your passion within your job it will not only benefit you but also the people you encounter as well. I encourage you to read Andy’s book Look at More. I know I will be reading it. I also will not forget the 2 back-to-basic principles I’d like to explore and expand on: passion in action and getting to zero. This was an experience I’m sure never to forget and am grateful to have been apart of.

Jasmine Cardi

“We the People”…such popular and powerful words. Not only is this phrase the first 3 words in the Constitution, it also hangs in the American Place at our library. There are glass panels that hang in front of the windows to reflect these very words onto the ground once the sun shines through. For months I have been curious to see if it would actually work. Finally this Monday I was able to see the glass panels in action! Today I was reminded of this very phrase this morning as one of our ESL students fainted in class. Her classmates were so worried about her even though they could barely communicate in the same language. This poor woman who had a bad reaction to her medication had no one we could call to accompany her to the hospital. One of our interns volunteered to go with her to the hospital and stayed with her until she was stable and comfortable. Many different people united for the same outcome-this woman’s immediate well being. The woman who fainted is from Morocco, the man who helped her and waited with her until the ambulance came is from Ecuador, the intern who went to the hospital with her is from Nepal, our program director who helped the rest of the class remain calm is from Iran, and today’s ESL class is made up of people from over 21 countries. “‘We the People” could not fit more appropriately. Kindness and concern are universal emotions that transcend a language barrier. In this case, “We the People” stick together.

ESOL Class
Jasmine Cardi

Today I was thinking about technology. It is something that dominates most of our lives these days. Phones, computers, ereaders, game consoles-the list is endless. What is most interesting that our time is spent playing virtual farm games with someone on the other side of the world, reading about the lives of others on facebook and checking our email. I am starting to wonder if the art of communication will someday be primarily virtual. How many times are you somewhere with other people and not even a Hello is exchanged and everyone is on their various devices? During the last portion of todays ESOL class the students were using our computers to work on their reading. It was refreshing to speak with these students and show them how to use the computer. In such a technological age they are still not dependent on technology. The art of communication is still visible even though not all of the students can speak English well and all are from different countries.  

Jasmine Cardi
My coworker and Dr. Bernard LaFayette

About a week or so ago I had an afternoon meeting with 3 citizenship students. Our plan was to go over some self study materials they could use to supplement their weekly classes. During this time there was a program going on close to my department on nonviolence and high school students. It was their graduation and one of the guest speakers was Dr. Bernard LaFayette. One of my coworkers calls me and says “Jasmine, you have to come and see this man. He knew Martin Luther King Jr!” So I tell my citizenship students we are going to take a little detour and stop in the next room. We were able to hear some of his speech. The students were amazed that they were seeing someone who knew Martin Luther King Jr, was beaten and arrested 27 times for his participation in civil rights activities and who still today in his 70′s travels promoting nonviolence. What started out as an appointment to check out books and learn about computer software turned into an impromptu history lesson live in the flesh! It was such a remarkable experience for me and the students!

Freedom Tower

Reflection Pool


Jasmine Cardi

Welcome to my blog! Here I will share some of the amazing experiences I have at my job as an Outreach Assistant at The American Place at The Hartford Public Library. To start I will share some photos from our ESOL & Citizenship class trip to the 9/11 memorial . Attendees of this trip include students from many countries such as Dominican Republic, Iraq, Russia, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Haiti. One of the most memorable things on this trip was the significance of this group of people together and this memorial. 9/11 made American’s more concerned with safety and also may have given certain groups of people a bad rap. Each of these students understood the effect 9/11 had on America and some have had personal effects. It was amazing to see such a diverse group of people together as one. The memorial is still under construction. We were able to walk around the 2 reflection pools. They were utterly amazing. The sound generated by the 2 reflection pools is so great that it’s the main thing you hear even though there is construction all around.

ESOL/Citizenship Students