Local non-profit organizations need your help to meet the demand for adult English courses


GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WBAY) — It’s probably not a question you answer every day, but think for a minute: how many times have you read a message or written a note today?

Reading and writing are things that many people take for granted, but there is a growing number of people in our area who are beginning to read and write in English as adults.

A Green Bay nonprofit is asking for help from the community to help fund this increasing demand for education.

School classes are held several days a week in the basement of a building in Green Bay.

It’s not traditional, but the goal is the same regardless of the age or background of the students.

“I like the lessons. I want to learn English,” says Mahamad Said.

He arrived in Green Bay almost six years ago as a refugee from Somalia. When asked if he knew some English before attending class, he told us, “No! Nobody!”

But he’s learned enough already, he could give a television interview – a sign of how far he’s come.

The credit goes up Literacy Green Baya non-profit organization focused on helping non-native English speakers learn the language.

“We see a growing need,” said Robyn Hallet, executive director of Literacy Green Bay. “The phone never stops ringing. We never stop seeing new customers coming through the front doors requesting our services.”

According to Hallet, volunteer teachers and tutors are helping people from all over the world—45 countries so far and counting—to learn not only how to communicate, but how to be successful.

It sounds simple, but it affects us all.

“It affects their families. That has an impact on their employment,” says Hallet. “They may be able to get a job, yes, but not advance in their employment, and the work we do is all about helping the community have a stronger workforce.”

We asked another student if it was difficult to communicate with people in the community before attending the courses. Aden Abdile tells us: “Sometimes, yes, sometimes difficult.”

You can see the achievement through the smiles on their faces, which shows how grateful they are to those who helped them adjust to a new community and culture.

“Because (it) gave me the opportunity to learn English and to develop myself further,” student Maria Navarrete tells us.

Literacy Green Bay also begins working with Afghan refugees settling in northeastern Wisconsin.

The more people are helped, the more the organization needs donations and financial resources from the community.

“Our fundraisers support our entire program,” explains Hallet.

On February 24th, Literacy Green Bay is hosting a Trivia Bee, the biggest fundraiser of the year.

It’s virtual because of COVID, but Hallet says attendees enjoyed it last year.

It includes a silent auction and speeches from people whose lives have changed in the classrooms of Literacy Green Bay.

“It’s amazing, it’s just so much fun to see so many different people coming through our doors,” adds Hallet.

the Trivia bee starts at 18:00 Thursday February 24, but you must Register in time to get the virtual credentials.

Hallet describes the fast-paced game like this: “Three rounds. One will deal with classical literature. One is going to be some of the questions that a new citizen would have when they go for their citizenship test, so that’s something that a lot of our students experience and a lot of people in the public don’t necessarily know the answers to, and then we do a round about Literacy Green Bay.”

click here for details or to register for the trivia bee or here to donate to literacy Green Bay.

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