The Issue: The Barrier of Limited English Proficiency
More than one in five children lives in poverty in the United States, and many of them face the added barrier of limited English-language proficiency, according to data from the US Census Bureau. When the parents of these children are taught to read and speak English, the parents can then in turn read to their children and help them develop strong language skills from infancy. This early language foundation will give these at-risk children a better chance of performing at the same level as their peers by the time they reach school age.
The Campaign: Providing English Classes for Adults
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by The Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC) to provide English-as-a-second-language classes to parents and other community members in its programs. For every $10 raised, the organization can provide one week of ESL classes for one adult.
CFNC provides ESL classes for adults with limited formal education who come from more than 12 linguistic backgrounds. The ESL teacher, Eugenie Ballering, brings in children’s books, job applications, and community fliers to help students focus on the reading challenges they will encounter on a daily basis. By reading children’s books, parents also learn how to teach their children to read, and reading fliers and applications can prepare all students for applying for more secure employment. In addition to reading lessons, the course incorporates lessons on history and government. Classes are held three times a week during the day to accommodate people who work at night and to run concurrently with daycare services for young children.
The Child and Family Network Centers
The Child and Family Network Centers provides free education and social services for preschool children, and job training for their families. The children it serves are considered at-risk due to limited English proficiency and low-income backgrounds. To fulfill the need for strong educational programs, CFNC operates a year-round preschool in 10 classrooms—with literacy and language support for bilingual children in 27 languages—to prepare them for kindergarten with their peers. These programs reach out to families in their own neighborhoods and supplement the students’ education with additional resources such as health services.
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