Where Service and Business Meet
If you asked Arturo and Lucas Fonseca what they were going to do with their lives, the answer was simple, even if the actual direction was unclear. “We were going to help,” was a theme declared early and often.
“We were going to help!”
Twin brothers from Chile, they found Grace College while searching online for colleges. They found the location appealing since Winona Lake is only three hours from Chicago. Ironically, though they were searching for large cities, they are now so busy they rarely make it out of town for pleasure.
Like many college students, Arturo and Lucas found jobs on campus. They work as Spanish tutors at The Learning Center, a resource center ensuring Grace students succeed in their academics. These campus jobs were on top of maintaining a full course load and being part of the Grace tennis team. But this did not stop them from also volunteering to help students at a local elementary school. They discovered quickly it was not simply students who needed assistance. They found it was also their parents who were trying to communicate with teachers and administration.
Yet it was not enough to simply help people. They wanted to do so to the very best of their knowledge and ability. They researched better methods of teaching English as a second language. Their passion to help people led to a business idea.
Having taken three classes from Professor Roger Bingham, D.M., it only made sense for them to look to him as a mentor. Dr. Bingham helped them make general ideas more specific, brainstorming pros and cons, in order to help avoid potential pitfalls. Having received instruction in the classroom, they knew they were receiving a real-world application that would benefit them throughout this entire process.
Smart Research Leads to Smart Service
What they learned in all of their research led to them developing a program unique to their business, Language Matters. The brilliance of their idea was born out of what they learned about language, specifically the benefits of learning a second language. The first thing they discovered was that it is a myth that only young children can easily learn a new language. Fluency is not affected by age, only our ability to duplicate the accent.
More importantly, they discovered how the brain is strengthened when learning a second language. Arturo explained it using an illustration of galaxies. Most classroom methods involve teaching an entire galaxy’s worth of words. This is true despite most of us only using the equivalent of a planet’s worth of words. Every language has a plethora of words most people will never use, much less need.
With this idea in mind, Arturo and Lucas focus on a conversational teaching method. They only teach the words most people will use in conversation. Every student has two tutors. Both tutors are bilingual, but one has English as a primary language, while the other’s primary language is Spanish. Because there is always at least a group of three, the student can feel free at moments to simply listen to the conversation had between the two tutors. This also allows the tutors a greater ability to fill in the gaps where there is any confusion in translation.
Once a level of mastery has been acquired, other benefits are enjoyed. Being proficient in two languages has been connected with great executive function in the brain, the ability to multi-task and make decisions.1 This is due, in part, to the grasp of multiple lexicons and finding oneself needing to decide which language to use in a multitude of different situations.
Spreading the Excitement
Dr. Bingham points to Arturo and Lucas as a great example of the opportunities afforded students at Grace College. “In the old days,” he noted, “business students would get some education, then learn more from the real world experiences they received, working in and starting businesses. Then they would return for more education. Now they are seeing that college students, in order to be successful, need experience while they receive the education, in order to be able to compete and get jobs. So these guys are taking that practical side of experience to a whole new level.” Watching it happen in real time, seeing classroom discussions turn to real-world experiences, is the most exciting part for Dr. Bingham.
When told about their business plans, Grace Tennis coach Andy Lewis is not surprised at all. He gave many endorsements for the twins, noting they were always giving 100% effort and always doing what they can to improve the team. Always working hard, he noted the improvement he has seen in their game as they work on an overall strategy for excellence in the game.
It would appear their lessons on the court have followed them into their business plans. They continue to work hard at developing the best system, in order to best help others. This is something central to their planning, developing a team, working together to accomplish the goal of helping others.
Investing in the next generation is something Grace College loves to do and is excited when students extend that same philosophy. If you would like to explore how Grace College can help you achieve your dreams for helping others, follow the link below.