Sunday, October 17, 2010

English Class

One very exciting thing, that we didn't expect in moving to Lancaster, is a large refugee population. We have heard this is due to the Mennonite presence here. They believe taking care of refugees is important, so that means this small town in Pennsylvania has quite a few refugees living here. Very cool!
As most of you know, Ryan and I love working with refugees and decided we wanted to get involved with them here in Lancaster. There is an non-profit organization that helps settle refugees and so we connected with them and they have helped us get the word out about an English class we started. There are a few classes already offered through out the city, but most of the refugees want as much help as they can get to learn more English. It helps them find jobs and adjust to their new culture...America!
We have been offering a class on Wednesday nights. It has been great. We have a lot of volunteer teachers, which means much more attention/practice for the students. Most of our students are beginners. Some know very little and some can carry on basic greetings. I personally(Kristin), love this stage because you see such amazing progress as they learn new things.
The class is very diverse. The students are from Ethiopia, Cuba, Iraq, Burma, and Nepal. It is so amazing to think how all these people from such different countries and backgrounds are all together once a week in a little room in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Not everyone in our class are refugees. We have a few students that have moved here and want an opportunity to improve their speaking skills.

Here are a few pics of our students :)

Ryan working with some Cubans. They are so fun and lively. The first week I asked one of the Cuban guys if he knew how to salsa dance. He very quickly and passionately told me(as if this was dumbest question I could ever ask a Cuban), "CLARO!!" =translated..."OF COURSE!"

These students are from Nepal. The man on the far left is the son of the man in the middle and the woman beside him(with the red shirt). The son, Bishnu, speaks perfect English. His parents do not know any English, but I am so proud/inspired by their determination to come every week.
This is a picture of some of the ladies from Africa and some Burmese students in the background.

****We found out some great news! There is an organization that has pledged to match funds with us. That means if we raise $250 dollars they will match us. This would be great to help cover classroom costs. If you are interested in donating, please let me know!!!****

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