Passing the citizenship test is a big priority for newcomer adults at International Learning Center, and that journey is supported with ESL classes, citizenship classes, a special class for elders, and tutoring for students with special needs. But citizenship also means engaging with and being part of the larger community. This spring ILC students took the lead in a spring cleanup, part of Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful‘s annual campaign, helped plant an orchard at Urban Eden Community Garden just outside the school (with support from Victory Garden Initiative and ILC staff and volunteers), and participated in maple sugaring activities at the Nature Center.
At a time when refugee crises around the world are inspiring acts of great generosity – and great fear – International Learning Center’s annual Holiday Party made a point of welcoming refugees and immigrants who enrich our community. This year’s event featured performances by refugee students and preschoolers, a visit from Santa, and a potluck meal.
Many thanks to all who contributed to this effort. Heartfelt thanks to Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Menomonee Falls for generously providing gifts for all (300!), and to State Legislator Dan Riemer who stopped by to welcome refugees and acknowledge the richness that immigrants bring to our community. Hunger Task Force generously handed out free holiday turkeys. We are grateful for all the neighbors and community members who celebrated with us on that day!
“Your clients are inspiring!” Many thanks to photographer Jim Wend who was inspired to take these eloquent portraits of International Learning Center students and present each with the gift of a matted print.
ILC Students took advantage of the warm weather to get out and about this fall, with field trips to Milwaukee Public Museum, Mitchell Domes, Survive Alive House, Jelly Belly Factory, and job fairs. These field trips are great ways to learn about American life and culture outside the classroom.
Now they know: which days the Museum and the Domes are free so they can take their families; what their kids are learning about fire safety so they can be safe at home; where jelly beans come from; and they know how to prepare for a job fair!
Students in ILC’s Older Refugee Program have a new favorite sport – bocce ball! They play in weekly tournaments with other seniors at the Washington Park Senior center where they also take part in citizenship classes with ILC’s Gina Palazzo.
Social integration with other seniors is part of the program at Washington Park, where refugee elders also participate in gardening, canoeing, and crafts. Gina explains: “They love playing bocce and the other seniors in the group truly enjoy their company in the game. The seniors have also been delighted at how skillful the ILC students are. They really are so good, especially for having never played! And there’s always a lot of laughter. William started the trend by playing with the group over the summer; the last couple of weeks before summer session ended other students began participating, and now most everyone looks forward to playing.”
ILC offers FREE Citizenship Classes for refugees age 60 or older.
Classes held at Washington Park Senior Center
4420 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee
Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday
9 – 11:00A.M.
Call ILC at 414-344-4777 for registration information.
At the lake, in the garden on the move… summer 2015.