Literacy Review Revisited: Third Time’s a Charm!

Here’s yet another sample from Literacy Review Volume 19, this time by Advanced Writing Class student Laeticia Blanchard

Having Coffee in NYC

by Laeticia Blanchard

Since I arrived in New York City, I have enjoyed having coffee outside. What a nice array of wonderful coffee places! My husband and I immediately embraced the NYC coffee culture. Every year, we would go to the New York Coffee Festival, and we would buy the new edition of The New York Coffee Guide. We were always strolling the city to discover a new coffee spot.

You can imagine how delighted I was when I realized that a cozy coffee shop had opened in my neighborhood. I also thought that it was a good sign that this new café was called Inès, as my own daughter’s name is Inès. Serendipity! I started to spend a lot of time at this café, and it became my go-to place. Inès is the place where I used to sit and stay to read my New Yorker, write my papers, study for my English classes, and prepare the Spanish lessons I taught. Its atmosphere was simply perfect for me. As I don’t like to be alone and spend an entire day without talking to anybody, I knew that there I could find a quiet place to interact with a bunch of people and at the same time I could feel safe, listen to cool music, and chat.

But then, in March, the pandemic struck, the lockdown arrived, and I really feared for my ideal connection with this special place. I thought that all these good moments were over. In fact, after a few days, I decided to go outside and to check if my favorite coffee place was still open, and, to my great relief, it was! Of course, no more tables to linger at, no more space inside to be seated and stay for a couple of hours, but it stood tall, and during this difficult time, it became my anchor, a place even closer to my heart. I kept going there every day. I wanted to give my support and express my appreciation to the team. They were part of the essential workers. And they were definitively essential for me! I was also supporting me and my mood. These outings were structuring my day, and it was so important for me to see people outside of my household. We were all exchanging information, doubts, and feelings about what was going on around us, and it had such a comforting and almost healing effect. My daughter, Inès, soon arrived from her university to stay home with us, and I brought her with me on these daily outings to the other Inès. I introduced her to the community, and with her name causing a sensation, she immediately became part of the gang. From March to July, we shared this precious time and place together.

Finally, in August, like a lot of restaurants in New York, they were able to set a beautiful terrace in front of the café, and I spent the whole summer sipping my delicious iced lattes with oat milk and taking my routine up again, reading, writing, and chatting outside but staying close to the hustle and bustle of the place.

I can say now that Inès represents an essential part of my life and of the New York experience I appreciate every day. Having coffee in New York City is being in touch with this lively, warm, and welcoming part of the city. I feel privileged to have found such an ideal spot, and I am happy to have created this extension of my family circle. Today, I cannot conceive my life without it. Having coffee in New York City is much more than simply drinking a cup of coffee; it is going to a place that is an extension of what I call home.

To listen to Laeticia read her story or read more stories, click here!

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Literacy Review Revisited

Literacy Review Volume 19 is out now! Here’s one story by University Settlement Adult Literacy Program W1 student Cesar Rojas

Eleven Pets in the House

by Cesar Rojas

The house where I grew up was in an urban area, but it was a very large house with four rooms and a backyard that was also really large. My mom loved animals, but at one time, things got out of control. We had two cats and two dogs. Then, in the same year, they all agreed to get pregnant. The cat had four kittens, and the dog had three puppies. We had eleven pets now in the house. You can’t imagine the noise the dogs made barking and the cats made running on the roof every night.

Since then, I haven’t wanted to have animals anymore.

To listen to Cesar read his story or to read more stories, click here!

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Literacy Review Volume 19

The new edition of the Literacy Review is out! The Literacy Review is an annual collection of writing from adult education programs throughout New York City, and it is produced by the NYU Gallatin Writing Program. This year it is available digitally along with audio of the authors reading their work, and four University Settlement Adult Literacy Program students have their writing featured: Evelyn Gonzalez, Laeticia Blanchard, Cesar Rojas, Lichan (Chloe) Yu, and Jackie Leduc. Congratulations, writers!

Click here or on the image above to begin reading!

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Writing Class & Literacy Review

Just sharing a class photo with you of our Advanced Writing Class which is taught on Fridays by NYU Gallatin Professor June Foley. In this class, students read, share, and discuss their writing. NYU Gallatin publishes a yearly Literacy Review of writing from adult education students around New York City. Literacy Review Number 19 will be available later this spring, and several University Settlement Adult Literacy Program students will have their writing published in it. It will be available in print on a limited basis and also online – so in the meantime check out Literacy Review Number 18 by clicking here or on the image below. There’s audio too!

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Student Achievement Alert!

Congratulations to two of our students, Gabriela Robles (Class CCR-A) and Ana Condo (Class 3P, pictured above), who graduated from the hospitality training offered by ROC-NY (Restaurant Opportunity Center – New York)! This was an intensive two-week service industry training completely in English.

This is Ana’s testimony after completing the training: “This training was intense with a lot homework, and it took so much effort. So many times I was considering quitting this training but my teachers never left me and raised me again and again. Now I appreciate it so much. And  without a doubt the message of my kids confirms the pride and love they feel for me and that fills me with energy to move forward and feel proud of being a student of University Settlement Society of New York. Thank you so much.”

And this is Gabriela’s testimony: “This training gave me the opportunity to learn hospitality, organization and leadership skills that I will carry with me and I will use them in any professional setting. Seeing my certificate makes me realize my potential. I feel motivated.”

For more info about Restaurant Opportunity Center – New York, click here or on the image below:

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Advocating for Adult Literacy

This week our students took part in an advocacy campaign for increased state funding for adult literacy programs. Our students met with Alex Flood from Assemblymember Patricia Fahy’s office and Patrick Cronin from Senator Daphne Jordan’s office and talked about what effect their classes have had on their lives. Screenshots from the meetings are above.

Additionally many of our students made short videos to be share on social media talking about the important of their English classes – watch one example below or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to watch more.

A special thank you to the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy as well the University Settlement’s Advocacy Director, Veronica Wong, for helping our staff and students prepare for this campaign!

We’re asking for $25 million in state funding per year for adult literacy classesto learn more, click here!

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