Winter IS Wonderful

21 ILC students and families took part in a Winter Wonder Hike at Neighborhood House Nature Center, many experiencing their first real winter in the US.  One student from Libya was curious about the snow:”We don’t have snow in our country, but sand!”
Finding animal tracks, sledding, and  hiking in the snow made for a full day, followed by a some time to share lunch and warm cold toes by a roaring fire.

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175 Turkeys! Hunger Task Force Delivers a Happy Thanksgiving

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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.

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Educating the Whole Family

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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.

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World Refugee Day Highlights Diverse Contributions

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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 WisconsinLutheran Social ServicesNeighborhood House MilwaukeePan-African Community Association and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, all members of the consortium.

More at Milwaukee Neighborhood News.

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Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant funds ILC Home Visit Program

International Learning Center recently received a $7600 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for its preschool’s Home Visit program. Home visits from ILC educators help newcomers and refugee families learn how to be safe at home and on the street in a new land, and gain the literacy skills they need to thrive as a family. We’re grateful for Dollar General’s renewed support of this important, award-winning family literacy program.
Kuwah loves to cook, dance and dress up like a princess. Her family is from Sudan. Kuwah is now a “master” in the classroom and helps the younger children learn. She knows all of her colors and shapes, count to 20, and knows all the letters in the alphabet except for V. Kuwah’s family loves learning and her parents are very supportive of their children’s education. The older children always keep up with homework. Kuwah’s mom is a student at ILC and loves to learn everything Kuwah learns.

Kuwah and her mother look forward to home visits from ILC’s Miss Bao.  Kuwah loves to cook, dance and dress up like a princess. Her family is from war-torn Sudan and they came to the US for a brighter future.  Kuwah became a “master” in the preschool classroom and helps the younger children learn. She knows all of her colors and shapes,  knows all the letters in the alphabet except for V, and can count to 20.  And Kuwah’s mother loves learning what Kuwah learns. Her whole family loves learning  -  the older children always keep up with their homework – and the parents are very supportive of their children’s education. 

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Garlic Mustard Picking and More(ls)

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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.

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