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Steven Kupfer had a few extra minutes five years ago.

“After work, I would often have some spare time,” said the New York State government employee. “So I thought maybe if I did something a little productive, that would be a good thing.”

Kupfer, 54, spends up to eight hours a week as a “conversation partner” — someone who meets with non-native English speakers to help them become fluent.

Metro found out about Kupfer through his conversation partner Tae Yeom.

“As an ordinary person, he is fulfilling a small contribution continuously to our community,” Yeom said in his nomination.

Kupfer’s help is a gateway to getting jobs and passing exams.

“Sometimes it’s just talking about events of the last week,” Kupfer said. “Other times, it’s reading Metro.”


Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter at
@AlisonatMetro.