The month before the pandemic hit, Katie met Angella. It was an interesting time to start a new friendship. But these two were up for the challenge.

Katie found out that Angella speaks French, and sought asylum in the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Katie had taken years of French in college and enjoys language studies.


Angella and all refugees and immigrants come with a wealth of knowledge and skills that might be different than ours, but they are just as strong and valuable.


Angella wanted to practice her English socially to help her get a better job, as she was currently working part-time at Amazon, and had to take an Uber multiple times a day to pick-up shifts.

“Let’s partner up, so you can practice English, and we can use your language strengths, so I can improve my French,” Katie proposed.

Katie found an old copy of “The Little Prince” in French from college, and obtained a copy in English; and a duo-language book club was born!

“We read through it one chapter at a time, and would compare words and translations in both languages. It took us about 9 months to get through the book. Both of us are introverts, so it was helpful to have something to discuss each week,” said Katie.

Katie found this model of volunteering to be a mutually beneficial way to value what each person has to offer.


I’m delighted to have met Katie and become friends with her, and the English I can speak now is because of her help.


“It allowed me to be the learner as well. Our friendship is not about only me giving, nor about only Angella receiving. Angella and all refugees and immigrants come with a wealth of knowledge and skills that might be different than ours, but they are just as strong and valuable,” said Katie.

Katie’s consistent presence and support have meant a lot to Angela and she strives to make a better future for herself.

“I’m delighted to have met Katie and become friends with her, and the English I can speak now is because of her help,” said Angella.