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A Volunteer's Story: Bob Caruso

Updated: Jun 28

By: Mica Gadhia


Bob Caruso is a true part of International House, as are so many of our volunteers.

  

On any given day when International House (IH) is open, Bob can be found at the copier, teaching beginning Spanish in one of our classrooms, or sitting one-on-one with a community member who needs support. If you’ve visited our new location at 1611 East 7th Street, you’ve also seen his and his wife’s flower design out front. 



Who Is Bob? 

Bob served as a Student Affairs Administrator for more than 37 years and ended up finishing his “official” career at Western Carolina University as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the founder of the College Student Personnel graduate program.  

Teaching is who Bob is to his core. He is solidly devoted to providing programs, services, and guidance to fellow human beings in need. 


Bob states through words and actions here at International House that, “I love this rare opportunity to touch so many diverse lives through the teaching-learning process and to assist in nurturing individuals as they become engaged members of our community.” 


Bob is heading back to Ohio in the middle of 2024 after having lived all over the United States his whole life. He was born in Greenwich, CT and did a lot of growing up in Rye, NY. Bob has also lived, worked, and served in Maryland, Connecticut, and Illinois.  

After he made his way here to Charlotte, NC, he devoted much of his time to our foreign-born and foreign-rooted community members. 


A Perfect Match 

Bob told us that he went onto Volunteer Match and found International House where an ESL opportunity popped up that he was interested in. He applied and moved through the process of becoming a volunteer.  


It turns out that Bob has given his time and talents in many different places and organizations, but he continues with International House because IH “yearns to help others.” 


When talking to Bob, you’ll see him visibly shift forward in his chair and “light up” when talking about his service to others. His incredible desire to serve is visible in his voice, body language and actions. He seems to have found a home where he is fully encouraged to help here at International House. 


I asked Bob, “What is your favorite thing about International House?” 


He took a long pause; shared slowly and intentionally, “I love the people here.”  


He explained about how extraordinary he finds our staff members and how “you don’t find that at many organizations.” He continued describing our team as professional, but personable, and that we’re attentive to detail and his time here has been very organized. 


Bob continues to be “wowed” by the layers of activities and services that International House offers. When he approached our team about his desire to teach a beginning Spanish class, he said it was a welcomed suggestion.  


Bob finished by sharing that “International House is a culturally rich place and I just love the vibe here!” 




He’s a solid member of our International House team and we couldn’t feel more honored to have him as part of our organization. 

 

What's Your Perfect Match? 

When supporting our IH community, it works best for Bob when he sees progress and forward movement in his students and mentees. 


What is your perfect match?  


What are you doing that makes you “light up?” 


Whether you're new to International House or you've been familiar with us for decades, we'd like to invite you to a Mission Tour here at International House. You'll be able to learn more about who we are, who we serve, and how you can join us to help Charlotte thrive.  


Here at International House, we believe that when immigrants thrive, Charlotte thrives. 


Bob signed off with this, "I will always remember...the smiles on beginner students' faces when they got the meaning of an English expression...the gratitude from intermediate students who just looked over their very first resume...and the joy of Spanish learners engaged in animated dialogs with classmates..."

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