They disburse new resources for free English classes in NYC but immigrants urge more

Bolivar Yungaizaca Came to the Big Apple more than 10 years agofrom his native Ecuador, and with a bit of sorrow he confesses that he doesn’t know how to speak english.

The immigrantwho has spent most of his time in New York working in the construction industry, says he made several attempts to sign up for some English programbut most were out of pocket and free classes at many City organizations and libraries have endless waiting lists.

That is one of the walls with which immigrants who have been in New York for years, just like the newcomers, numbering more than 15,000, are currently, since the number of quotas and free classes available, are inferior to potential students.

“It took me a lot to start here. It is not only a matter of being able to take the time but also find free classes, because in private sites, a level 1 course is worth about $600 and I don’t have that money,” says the Ecuadorian, who is one of the students currently taking free classes at the Jackson Heights headquarters of the Make the Road NY organization. If it weren’t for these classes I would still feel behind and although I understand something, learning grammar here and practicing has improved my English.

And in the midst of the juggling that community organizations and educational groups do daily to meet the needs of immigrants to learn English, which helps them open the doors of the call “American dream”, Make the Road NY received good news this Monday that will boost its literacy programs and citizenship classes.

Queens Congresswoman Grace Mengmanaged to get the federal government to disburse $400,000 dollars so that the Queens organization, which offers classes to some 1,500 students each year, can boost that number and allow those who have been on the waiting lists for months to sit in the classroom and speak the language in English.

federal lawmaker delivered the juicy check to the organization, in the middle of a crowded class, where he took the opportunity to call not only Washington but also Albany and the municipal government to put their hands in their pockets and finance more English teaching programs .

These classes are vital to help improve the quality of life for our families in of the counties that has suffered the most needs and the impact of the COVID pandemic, and we should allocate many more resources at all levels of government, ”said the policy.

“English classes are a way to make things easier for immigrants who come to New York. Everyone deserves to have a taste of the American dream and learning English makes it easier for workers, mothers and fathers of families who sometimes do not have the time or money to take classes”, Meng added.

Theo Oshiroco-director of Make the Road NY, He appreciated the boost that the new resources will give to the classes so that more students on the waiting lists can begin their process of learning English, and he stressed that the language is the key that makes immigrants open new doors.

Learning English allows our people to get better jobs, help their children with their homework and also be able to better defend their rights, either with a landlord or an employer”, commented the activist. “With these resources we can make sure that more people can achieve their goals; 80% of our students achieve the advanced level”.

sonia diazwho has lived in the Big Apple for 35 years, said that thanks to Make the Road’s free English classes, she can now communicate better with her grandchildren and make many of her dreams come true.

“It hasn’t been easy, but with the patience of the teachers, who have to be very patient with us, today I can have a conversation and that is priceless,” said the Latina grandmother.

Congresswoman Grace Meng of Queens County secured $400,000 in federal funding to expand literacy programs at Make the Road organization

Rebecca Telzacdirector of education and health services for Make the Road NY, mentioned that the new resources will serve to educate some 400 new students in English, citizenship and digital literacy classes, in addition to being able to help them connect with services such as health insurance and lawyers, but he insisted that more funds are urgently needed.

“The truth is that much more is needed to ensure that we have enough places and teachers for everyone, especially now that the buses with new immigrants are arriving, whom we have contacted to show them the options, but we must ensure that everyone has access to the classes. of English,” Telzac said.

And in the midst of the call for the City to allocate more money so that no one is left without having the option of learning English, the president of the Municipal Council, Adrianne Adamsstressed that this body managed to ensure a total of $21.2 million from the budget for adult literacy programs.

“For years, adult literacy programs have been a critical resource for immigrants who have called New York City home and a top priority for the Council,” said the political leader. “The Council is proud to have obtained in collaboration $17.2 million in adult literacy funding in the city budget and contributed $4 million through our own Council initiatives for adult literacy programs.”

The head of the City Council added that the resources that were approved will help various communities throughout the city, including recently arrived immigrants who have come to New York seeking asylum and a better life.

Maria Hernandezone of the Venezuelans who has arrived in the Big Apple in recent months on buses that have been sent from Texas, said that although she is extremely grateful for the way New York City has supported her, placing her in a shelter and helping her connect with legal resources, she still hasn’t been able to start her English lessons.

Congresswoman Grace Meng of Queens County secured $400,000 in federal funding to expand literacy programs at Make the Road organization

“I have marked several places close to where I am staying but they tell me that there are many people waiting and that the next classes would be until next year in January or February. I don’t want to sound like I’m asking too much, but I would like the City create a way to have online classes immediately to help us learn quickly and be able to integrate better into this culture”, said the mother of the family.

Resources for Free Teaching English and Adult Literacy

  • Congresswoman Meng Raised $400,000 for Make the Road NY Classes
  • 1,500 annual students on average are educated in that organization
  • 400 more students will be the expansion that the new funds will allow
  • $21.2 million allocated by the City Council to the City budget for adult literacy programs
  • Basic $8 million was given in agency funds
  • $6.7M in Adult Literacy Improvements in Budget Negotiations
  • $2.5 million for an Adult Literacy Pilot Project
  • $4 million through the Council’s own funding initiatives.
  • 311 is the best way to call to ask for free English classes in the city, through community organizations
  • To be on the waiting list for English classes at Make the Road NY you can call (718) 565-8500
  • You can also go in person at 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights

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