Carol Ann Freeman and Bonita D'Amil...Hearts for Hungary
Service is part of Nyack College’s DNA and stories abound about the various ways our faculty, staff, students and alumni go about serving others in our nation and abroad. More often than not the spotlight shines on the sacrificial work of faculty, students and alumni.
There are unsung heroes among us—like Carol Ann Freeman and Bonita D’Amil. Carol Ann is executive assistant to Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) President Michael Scales and Bonita is executive assistant to Nyack/ATS Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Turk.
Mrs. Freeman is the founder and director of Hearts for Hungary, an international outreach of First Reformed Church in Walden, NY. Mrs. D'Amil (pictured here) traveled with Mrs. Freeman to Hungary to repeat their short term missions commitment. The outreach is a partnership with GoodSports Hungary; Talentum Baptist Elementary School (Debrecen, Hungary); Association of Baptists for World Evangelism; and Gyula Baptist Church (Gyula, Hungary). On this trip, they appeared in a segment of a Hungarian television broadcast.
A Nyack employee since 2000 Mrs. Freeman, (first a School of Music assistant who transitioned to the President’s Office in 2006), has traveled to Hungary for the past decade and this year marks her twenty-second trip. As lead teacher, she writes the curriculum for the children’s English programs, creates materials, gathers teaching supplies and guides supporting teachers in classroom presentations. Lessons are theme-based, using stories, rhymes, music, drama, art puppetry and other creative arts to encourage speaking and expanding vocabulary and grammar.
“In 2007, I went to Hungary for the first time to explore the ministries that were already in place and where I would fit in,” Carol Ann explains. “I was asked to teach English for a church—the beginner adult level. When I first stood in front of that class, I was terrified! But I soon found that I loved teaching—creating lessons and watching the students' reactions as something ‘clicked’ and they could begin to communicate using the English they knew.”
So passionate about this outreach, Carol Ann Freeman has earned two master’s degrees—one at Nyack College and one at Alliance Theological Seminary. Both support her outreach work. “The thesis for her MA in Intercultural Studies (ATS, 2008) was, “An Analysis of the Cultural and Social Context for Mission in Hungary and a Strategy for Communicating the Gospel. Her Master of Science in TESOL (NC, Honors with Distinction, 2016) she was able to do most of her fieldwork and all of her teaching practicum in Hungary.
Mrs. D’Amil accompanied Mrs. Freeman in 2011 and then joined her in 2015 and again this year. “My main role is support,” she says. “Generally, I am a teacher's assistant, but I help out in whatever way is needed. This year, however, I did teach the beginner adult class in the evenings, which I LOVED! I've always been drawn to Central/Eastern Europe. It's been an amazing journey ever since—much more than I could have imagined. I never thought I would grow so attached to these people, but I now have friends half-way across the world! It's interesting that even with very different languages and cultures your hearts can still connect.”
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