Helping Kidsave’s Colombian Kids Learn English

“It takes a village to raise a child,” as the saying goes, and Allison Sutherland is a special part of that village in the Washington, D.C. area. She is a tutor and accomplished linguist who has taught English to ten Kidsave Colombian youth who were hosted by Kidsave families and then adopted. She has deep roots in the Kidsave community. “I consider the Kidsave students to be part of my family,” she says. Two of her recent students are now in their first year of college after arriving here with no English at age 14.

Allison brings the wisdom of ten years as a public school teacher to her tutoring work as well as sizable other talents. Some Kidsave kids, she notes, “are very motivated right from the start, but others have to be taught motivation because no one has pushed them to strive, and now – suddenly – they have parents who do.”

Allison is super fun, too. To help kids learn English she wrote a book called “The Snoring Princess,” which was put to music and performed as a play with her student Kidsave’s Leydi Baumann, in the title role.

Allison helped DC-area Kidsave kids Kandy and Matsu perfect their “Victory” shout and make the cut for the cheer-leading squad. Those girls also bravely made the early decision to speak English to each other at home. That took a rare kind of discipline that she admired.

She has seen her Kidsave students achieve high academic standards and get into impressive schools. Allison is the godmother of one of her students and has a great sense of humor – indispensable to this work. She once told the parents of Jenny, “You need to feed, clothe, shelter and give your daughter a “J”, noting that Jenny would otherwise be Yenny, the Colombian pronunciation of the letter “J.”

As an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tutor Allison focuses on speaking, including accent reduction, grammar, writing and reading comprehension, in addition to subject areas such as history and social studies – even biology! She is currently available to tutor online, which has proven very effective. She can be reached at or (703) 615-6660.