Faces of BIIN: Rob Johnson, ESL Volunteer

Published by Program Manager on

Faces of BIIN: Rob Johnson, ESL Volunteer

Rob Johnson and his wife, Mary

Rob Johnson is a dedicated volunteer who assists the morning English Second Language (ESL) courses. Volunteers in the ESL courses typically assist students by practicing one-on-one conversations with them and answering additional questions. Rob has been volunteering with BIIN since 2022, but his commitment to helping communities in need has gone on for much longer.

Rob grew up in North Carolina, but after moving to Texas he found out about BIIN through some members who attended his church and thought it would be a good opportunity to get involved with the immigrant community in Brazos county. Previously, Rob was a nurse in North Carolina, where he worked directly with immigrants in the healthcare system who didn’t know any English. He spoke about this experience as something that inspired him and even encouraged him to learn Spanish.

“I was a nurse anesthetist and I moved to rural North Carolina, and started taking care of patients that did not speak English,” he recounted. “It was very important for me to communicate, for one thing legally for informed consent, but another was just to show them respect as human beings. I felt like I needed to be able to communicate with them. This was my first opportunity to work with immigrants from Mexico and get to know them.”

Rob is now conversationally fluent in Spanish, which he learned during his time spent at a University in Mexico.

“I learned Spanish by going to a language university in Cuernavaca, Mexico,” he explained. “My wife and I went together for a 2 week period and then we returned. I used it as a kind of continuing education, so I did about five more trips to Mexico for about one more week at a time.”

He also assists with a mobile food bank, which is planned and organized by his wife, Mary, every third Saturday of the month. Rob helps organize volunteers who then distribute boxes of food from the Brazos Valley Food Bank to families in need from the Bryan-College Station area.

“I really think we are all in this together,” Rob said. “To me, one of our responsibilities is to make life easier for people and the immigrant population has not had it easy. So whatever I can do to help with that is what I want to do.”

Thank you Ana Gou for writing this piece!

Categories: Faces of BIIN