By Shaunna Cullen
The end of year celebration for YWCA New Britain's Family Literacy Center ESL (English as a Second Language) and GED (General Education Degree) students and their children is held every spring to celebrate the successes of the past year. This program is a partnership with Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut and The Consolidated School District of New Britain Department of Adult Education.
This year, awards were given to students who advanced a level in their learning, to dedicated volunteers, and to children in the play and learn program.
"I continue to be awed and amazed by the challenges large and small that these students overcome to continue their education. Be it to improve English skills or to earn a GED. It's one thing to go to school when you are young and without responsibilities. It's quite different to have to juggle meals, errands, appointments, children (both sick and well), and still have time to come to school," said Barbara Heidenis, Family Support Network Coordinator.
Several students spoke to the group about a project they worked on where they created something to help their child learn. One student took an egg carton filled with different colored beads and tokens to help her child count and identify colors. Another student made a book mark she made out of recycled materials that her child can use when they read books together.
Many volunteers and tutors were recognized for their outstanding dedication to the students and their children. Some helped with childcare while mothers were busy learning and others helped guide students to obtain their GED or work through tough English grammar lessons.
As a way to demonstrate some of what the children learned over the past year, they surprised the group by singing their ABCs with Anna Polkowski, head teacher for the Play and Learn component of the program. Each child was also given a book to take home to encourage them to read over the summer.
The celebration concluded with a luncheon made for the students, by the students. Family Literacy students represent a diverse cultural heritage, and the delicious food they shared with their classmates proudly reflected that culture.
Congratulations to all our Family Literacy students on all your hard work and success this year!