Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hands Across the World: Helping for 5 years

This program started by helping immigrants learn English, now it has expanded to help families learn our culture and how to live here. Each family has different needs and this program helps each one of them. DP

By TaLeiza Calloway

Five years ago, Hands Across the World began with the intent to help immigrants learn English and adapt to American culture. Over the years, the nonprofit organization has blossomed into a program that offers much more.

“It has taken us five years to shape the curriculum and become an integral program,” co-founder Brianda Cediel said. “I believe that this is one of the most important programs in our community.”

Hands Across the World serves as the first contact for many immigrants and refugees when they arrive in St. Cloud. Through classes and training, the program helps families survive after arrival. It has helped 160 new families this year and more than 750 families total, she said.

It has taken a long time to build the program because they take the time to meet all participants and address their needs, Cediel said. From knocking on doors and visiting with families to monthly sessions on a variety of issues, the needs of participants are a priority.

“This is a community-based program. Each need is different,” Cediel said. “Each person is one world — one culture.”

The merging of cultures enriches the program, and that diversity is evident among the students and staff.

About eight volunteers help with Hands Across the World programs.

They come from countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Somalia and Togo.

“The volunteers are very committed,” Cediel said.

Sister Antonia (Tonie) Rausch, co-founder of the program, remembers the first winter for her Somali students in the program. They wore sandals in the snow.

Now, they teach each other about dressing warm, she said.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

1 comment:

quebecvoy said...

Toda la info necesaria para emigrar al primer mundo en: http://immigration-quebec-verdadero.blogspot.com/