Last month, the Academy of Medical & Public Health Services graduated our second class of Adult Literacy ESOL students. This year, AMPHS received over 200 registrations and celebrated achievements of 131 of those students on Graduation Day. Students came from 21 different countries across Central America, Latin American, East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Africa, and participated in classes at the Beginner, High Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels over a period of two semesters. Parents who otherwise would have needed to choose between going to class and taking care of their children were offered free babysitting services during class time. Students also received support through AMPHS’ health, mental health and social services programs throughout the term.
Over the course of the term, students not only developed their written and verbal communication skills, and connected with other English language learners in the community. They participated in workshops about immigrant rights, mental health, personal financial management, and college education opportunities. Classes went on field trips to plays Target Margin Theatre, Brooklyn Public Library, New York Aquarium, Governor’s Island, Sunset Park, NY Lantern Festival and participated in Iftar celebrations with the Arab-American Association of NY and Comptroller Scott Stringer.
In celebration of the holidays in November, students across AMPHS’ class participated in a Thanksgiving Day feast, designed to educate students about the United States Thanksgiving tradition. We transformed cafeteria tables with a long dinner table holiday setting and brought drinks, turkey, and Thanksgiving Day staples. Students brought traditional home cooking to contribute to a multicultural Thanksgiving potluck feast. Teachers discussed the history and tradition of Thanksgiving and reviewed dining and dining etiquette terminology, while students across the different classes networked through food, drink and “speed-dating” activities. Students concluded the evening with a white elephant gift exchange. According to one student, “The event gave me a family feeling and made me feel the holiday spirit. I had never had a feast like that before.”
They also attended AMPHS’ Holiday Party and had the chance to share their experiences with AMPHS’ programs over food and drink.
On May 31st, Advanced class student Febe Xu was honored for a essay, “As a Beginner in New York” at the DYCD Student Achievement Ceremony, with a reading by Carlos Montivero, along with Mexican Folk Dance “Ballet Folklorico” from student Fatima Osorio.
In May, students participated in a rally to advocate for additional funding to support ESOL classes, with an impassioned speech by Intermediate student Mauricio Paz Viola.
On June 8th, we held our First Annual Sunset Park Career Day featured a combination of workshops, career panels, and tabling throughout the day, with an aim to provide community members with information about workforce development programs, workers’ rights, and job opportunities. The event was open to all members of the community, attracting over 120 attendees including AMPHS’ Adult Literacy students. Career Day connected students to work and training opportunities and showed students that if they committed themselves to achieving their goals, and with a little bit of help along the way, anything is possible — achieving the American Dream is possible.
Workshops were facilitated through the Center for Family Life and CUNY BMCC. Twenty agencies participated to offer information about their job and training opportunities. Panelists shared stories about their struggles entering their professions, including going to school, finding a job as an undocumented person, and dealing with discrimination, and provided recommendations on educational pathways to success.
To our students, our Adult Literacy classes mean much more than a class or a program. It is a community and an opportunity for education.
“I never went to school when I was young. My parents didn’t allow me to,” said Ms. Li, a student in our Beginner class, who at 80 years old had been enrolled in our program with her daughter since last year. “My daughter only completed elementary school; she was the primary caretaker for her younger siblings and began working as a teenager to earn money for the family. Her brothers had a chance to go to school, but she never did. Now she is my primary caretaker, and I know I owe so much to her. This, for us, is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The commitment and motivation of our students are unmatched. They are at once the breadwinners, parents and caretakers of the family. While struggling to learn to thrive in a new country, they are also attending classes 6+ hours a week to build upon their English — making a commitment to excel and build a better life for their children. We cannot be more proud of our graduating class and happier to have played a role in their journey. Take a look at our graduation booklet to meet them all!
The success of the classes would not have been possible without the hard work of our 2018-2019 Adult Literacy team: Administrative Support team Mon Yuck Yu, Philip Lindsay, Aimee Kim, Jialiang Huang; ESOL Instructors Weam Al-Rubaye, Somia El-Rowmeim, Tanya Chambers, and Bonnie Blaha; the Literacy Partners team Adriane Lee, Mary Sillman, Jessica Kan, Caitlin Mroz, Fatema Kabir, Megan McDonald, and Sarah Jaffe. Thank you for all your hard work!
Now Accepting Applications!
Summer Classes: New and returning students can opt to enroll in a 5-week computer class and conversation table this summer between July 10th and August 10th to continue to build their English skills. Registration is on a rolling basis.
Fall Classes: Registration for our Fall Cycle is now open. To register, please call our offices at (212) 256-9036 to make an appointment for registration and testing.