175 Turkeys! Hunger Task Force delivered a happy Thanksgiving to International Learning Center students today. Hunger Task Force visited the school in October to explain the coming cuts in food stamp assistance. Students who shared their stories about why food stamps are important (no small task for English language learners) were automatically selected to receive a free turkey, but no one was left out – there were plenty of turkeys for all. What’s next? Turkey curry, turkey with rice and lemon grass – the possibilities are endless!
Many thanks to Zaw, Eric, and Fue from Hunger Task Force for their hard work.
When Than Kyi first came to the United States as a refugee from Burma 5 years ago, she knew she’d need more English to help her family succeed in a new land. Than Kyi enrolled at International Learning Center, where she made quick progress in English literacy and speaking, and increased involvement with her children’s education. This summer her two older children attended Community Learning Center Summer Camp at Neighborhood House, and her two younger children attended preschool at ILC while she prepared for her upcoming citizenship exam.
Program Assistant Nang Kham provided crucial bilingual support to help Than Kyi and other refugee families register for summer programs. Parents attended summer English and citizenship classes while their kids had access to academic support and recreational activities at nearby Neighborhood House.
International Learning Center students and staff were among over 100 dancers, musicians, and aid workers who attended this year’s World Refugee Day at Pere Marquette Park. A collaborative effort, it was the largest World Refugee Day celebration ever held in Milwaukee. “We wanted to highlight the contributions that the refugees bring to Milwaukee,” said Anna Bierer of Neighborhood House.
Presentations included personal stories, musicians, dance troupes from Hmong, Karenni, Iraqi, and West African cultures, and the US (represented by guitarist Billy Flynn).
Milwaukee Neighborhood News reported on the event: “Many [people] don’t have a clue that refugees exist in Milwaukee. We hope to advocate on the refugees’ behalf,” said event coordinator Natasa Torbica of the Milwaukee Area Refugee Consortium (MARC). “These people bring a lot of energy. They’re hard working; they’re survivors … It’s great to see success stories,” added Torbica, who works at Jewish Family Services.
Other sponsors included Catholic Charities USA, the International Institute of Wisconsin, Lutheran Social Services, Neighborhood House Milwaukee, Pan-African Community Association and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, all members of the consortium.
More at Milwaukee Neighborhood News.
Twenty-eight ILC students made a spring visit to the Neighborhood House Nature Center to help pick garlic mustard, part of a land management plan to control invasive species at the 90-acre Dodge County site. The weather was wet, so the first order of business was to get everyone properly outfitted. Plastic garbage bags did double duty as raingear. Students filled many bags of garlic mustard, and even tried some as a condiment in noodle soup. Some lucky pickers found morel mushrooms, too- a Wisconsin delicacy (no bamboo in this jungle, sorry!) – another addition to our soup.
Over two dozen students from International Learning Center set out with gloves, trash bags, and trash pickers as part of our Earth Day clean-up on April 22nd. With supplies provided by Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, we collected 20 bags of trash from the area around our school, including the grounds of Central United Methodist Church and US Bank. This lesson in civic responsibility reflects our mission to empower refugees and immigrants to function effectively in a new land – as parents, workers, and citizens.