Sunday, March 11, 2007

A literacy group discovers commonalities

We need groups like this in every city in this country. DP

A literacy group finds after breaking down the language barrier for 25 years that 'people aren't that different'

By Cheryl Sherry, Post-Crescent staff writer Moving to the United States from Palestine in 1991, Raja Khatib said her father's words never rang truer.

"He said, 'You need to finish your school. That is what will help you in your life,'" said the 40-year-old Appleton woman who was required to take Arabic, Hebrew and English in school but put little effort into studying. These days, aside from family, the most important thing in the mother of four's life is education.

"I grab every opportunity I can to improve myself, to improve my English and my skills," said Khatib, who became a U.S. citizen in 1999 and earned her high school equivalency diploma and certified nursing assistant certification through Fox Valley Technical College. She is working toward certification as a technical colleague at her new workplace, St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Appleton.

Khatib will be one of 16 students celebrating accomplishments and telling their stories at Literacy Education Services Inc.'s annual awards program at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church in Appleton, where it has met for the last 25 years. Khatib has used the program since 1993.

"She gets around the English language pretty good now," said Fran Bubolz, 77. Bubolz is a retired schoolteacher and a charter volunteer of Literacy Education Services Inc., which works in partnership with the Fox Valley Literacy Coalition and the Fox Valley Outreach Literacy Council. The groups jointly serve 400 students.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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