During their hourlong meetings each week at a Jamaica Plain senior housing complex, del [Del Rosario] and [Ben Parad] speak only in Spanish: about how Parad spent Thanksgiving, about del Rosario's high cholesterol, about his 11 sons and daughters.
Some students have gotten together with their instructors outside the program. Del Rosario invited Parad one night to have dinner at his apartment, where they feasted on "ninos envueltos," rice and beef wrapped in cabbage. In a recent conversation, del Rosario told Parad he had thought of calling him on Thanksgiving, just to see how he and his family were enjoying the holiday.
She asked the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, the nonprofit agency that owns the Nate Smith House, for permission to use the building for language sessions and recruited instructors from the complex and elsewhere around Boston through an article in a local Spanish newspaper. She then advertised for people who wanted to learn Spanish through fliers distributed around Jamaica Plain.