OCTC Offers Bridges to English for Refugee Families

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OWENSBORO, KY (06/27/2018)
During the month of June, OCTC SkillTrain Adult Education partnered with Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Public Schools to offer a four-week English language program called Bridges to English: Connecting Schools and Refugee Families.

"We wanted to leverage our resources to serve our clients who are refugees not just as individuals but as families," said OCTC SkillTrain Director Lindsey Kafer. "Those of us who work with refugees at OCTC, OPS, and DCPS have all seen evidence that our refugee parents often aren't familiar with how or when to communicate with their kids' schools and teachers. We wanted to provide some basic support-some language they could use to call the office when their child is sick, an understanding of the kinds of forms and letters they'll see come home from the schools, etc."

The program featured instruction in English for both parents and children pre-K through 5th grade. While parents learned how to communicate with their children's schools and to help their children with learning at home, kids were in classes with OPS and DCPS teachers, practicing their English and continuing to develop other academic skills.

Now in its second year, this summer Bridges served 20 refugee families. Owensboro Christian Church housed the program, and the International Center assisted with transportation.

"It was truly a team effort," said Kafer. "Especially given all that is happening nationally, I am proud to be a part of a community like Owensboro that is joining together to serve refugees and immigrants."

For more informaiton about OCTC's SkillTrain Adult Education and the Bridges to English program, please contact OCTC's Skill Train Director Lindsey Kafer at: lindsey.kafer@kctcs.edu or 270.686.3781.