One of our former Adult Literacy Program students is now featured on the New York Coalition for Adult Literacy’s website. Watch the video above or click here to visit the NYCCAL website to read it and watch it!
Each year University Settlement impacts 40,000 New Yorkers who come from 50 countries and speak 40 different languages. Every September we begin new 10-month intensive classes in our Adult Literacy Program. Valikhan, a participant in the program, tells us what University Settlement’s program has meant to him, in his own words.
In Kazakhstan I was a professor. I was invited to George Washington University for a program and after I decided to stay and move to New York. But I did not know English. It was important to me to lean and so I came to University Settlement two years ago.
I have done a lot. I wrote two books and I met with members of Congress. I can speak different languages. But I did not know English and I needed help. When I heard about University Settlement I came here for help. It’s very important to me to have good teachers. Our teacher Jon has a lot of emotion and I like that.
I feel very good about my English now. I grow slowly but nonstop. There is a lot that I did not know before that I know now. Now I can describe things to people and am able to ask questions. Before I could not.
I was worried and scared at first but the teachers make it comfortable. You are outside your comfort zone but you need to do that to learn. Now I travel to other cities and feel okay about it with my English. I enjoy it. I am taking more classes to get even better. They care about you here and help you. I would tell everyone that they should come here.
Last Thursday, one of our Adult Literacy Program students, Nian Ci He, spoke at a Family Literacy Forum sponsored by United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) at Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center. She spoke about how her English classes have helped her make the most of her life in New York and they’ve also helped her become more involved in her daughter’s education. After speaking, Nian Ci also took part in a group discussion with other adult education students and fielded questions from the audience. She did a great job!
UNH, by the way, has begun a campaign to increase awareness about the importance of family literacy. Family literacy programs are designed to involve a whole family in their collective educational success. By engaging both children and their parents (or other adult family caregivers) in a collaborative and mutually reinforcing learning process, families are better equipped to gain the skills they need to succeed.