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Cape Fear Literacy Council Helping Families the World Over

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By Danielle Villegas

he Cape Fear Literacy Council is well known for its Adult Literacy classes and literacy focused community events. For the past 25 years the Literacy Council has also been welcoming adults from other countries and helping them to acquire English skills through English classes for Speakers of Other Languages. This real world practice in a safe environment is provided by volunteers who teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes, one-on-one tutoring, Citizenship Prep, Math, Writing, GED, TOEFL, and Computer Classes. The Cape Fear Literacy Council teaches adults from over 40 countries, from 5 continents that speak around 20 different languages. What do they all have in common? They want to fully embrace and understand the English language. Many of the people who come here to live, work, and raise their families have taken English classes in their country of origin. However, there is a big difference between learning in a classroom and real world speaking and listening. Without practice, they may understand English but are not confident enough to respond. This is especially challenging for parents who have children in school.

Parenting in a Confusing World Navigating school life can be challenging for an average person. However, trying to fill out the right forms, ask the questions that matter the most, make decisions about birthday parties, sleepovers, and playdates, and simply become a part of the school community can be difficult if you are not entirely comfortable with speaking and understanding the English language. If a parent is unsure of what a field trip form says, they may be hesitant to blindly sign away their permission. The Cape Fear Literacy Council not only teaches speaking and listening skills. They teach reading, writing, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Giving parents confidence to be an active participant in their child’s school life and greatly increasing that child’s chances for success.

Success Leads to Giving Back Barbara Biba, the ESOL Program Director at CFLC says, “One mother who attended classes at the Literacy Council started out feeling fearful about volunteering at her child’s school. She desperately wanted to be one of the parents that could be counted on to help during events and special projects.” Barbara explained that this mother was worried that her lack of

36 | September 2014 | Wilmington Parent

English language understanding would lead to confusion and awkward moments. However, she consistently studied and attended classes and was soon giving back to the school. Barbara says, “She became a mother that would help whenever anything was needed. Eventually, she was even able to accept a position as a teacher’s assistant.”

Offering a Friendly Face Parents in our community have a unique opportunity to reach out to other parents based on the common love of their children and the desire to raise healthy, happy, responsible, kind-hearted citizens. Sometimes just a friendly face, or an offer for assistance with a classroom volunteer sign-up list can be a bridge to understanding and confidence. When a parent can confidently communicate their questions, and understand the answers, they not only will be able to rely on themselves to navigate their child’s educational life, they will also be able to positively contribute to the school and community.

CFLC is Expanding! The Cape Fear Literacy Council is pleased to announce the completion of a second building located right next door to the original blue building. This new building will allow for greater literacy opportunities, more classroom space, and more room for training new volunteers.

Interested in Volunteering? If you would like to volunteer by helping teach a class, tutoring one-onone, or assisting in the office, the next CFLC 101 session will be held on September, 3rd 5:30-7:30. This information session will explain the ESOL Tutor Certification Workshop and show you what volunteer opportunities are available.

Upcoming Event 27th Annual Spelling Bee September 18 at 7pm at Pine Valley Methodist Church on Shipyard Boulevard. The entire community is invited to share in an evening devoted to words! Admission is free and there will be audience games and prizes. For more information about the CFLC’s expansion, classes, and volunteer opportunities, please feel free to contact Barbara or Janice at 251-0911 or visit www.cfliteracy.org. v

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