dribbble google rss

Resize Text

Zoom in Regular Zoom out

Our Residents

Learning English at the Housing Authority

Learning English at the Housing Authority

Learning English at the Housing Authority

L-R Rosetta Stone program participant, Giselle Torres, and SHA ROSS Program Coordinator, Lidya Rodriguez.

The mother of two and grandmother of four stops by several days a week to the English as a Second Language program run out of the Training Room at 103 Division Street in the Riverview Apartments, in the city’s Brightside neighborhood.

Gomez goes at her own pace, with help, guidance and formal lessons from teacher Noemi Marin. In the six years since she moved from Puerto Rico, she has watched her conversational and reading English soar to new heights.

“I love it here,” she said. “My English is much better now. I can speak for myself at the grocery store, or wherever I go.”

At the John L. Sullivan Apartments, Giselle Torres carefully adjusts earphones as she persues her latest lessons in English on a desktop computer in the Neighborhood Network Computer Center. She is on the third level of the Rosetta Stone program, and can feel her English improving.

“I like this because I’m learning to say so many things I haven’t been able to say before. It’s very good for me,” said the mother of two. She lives nearby Sullivan on Sherman Street, and walks over several times each week to work on the Rosetta lessons. The program also has workbooks to improve writing and sound recognition skills.

Both programs are part of a U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant to provide ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons to non-English speakers.

Learning English at the Housing Authority

Pictured left – Noemi Marin, Instructor.

SHA ROSS Program Coordinator Lidya Rodriguez said the language lessons are often taken as a beginning step for city residents – the programs are free and open to all – who want to assimilate and find jobs. Once mastering English, participants may enroll in GRE classes to hear high school equivalency certificates, or career counseling and help finding work.

“The Rosetta Stone is a very effective program,” Rodriguez said of the language-learning software. “You speak into the microphone, and once you’ve used it the first time, it recognizes your voice and knows right where to start you. If you’re not saying the words correctly, it stops and asks you to repeat until you get it right.”

She added, “Anyone can use it. People come from all over the city.”

The computer room at Sullivan is open to the public on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For information on the program or the center, call Lidya at 413-785-1562, or Daisy at 413-785-1563.

At Riverview, students get classroom-style lessons from Marin, a native of Puerto Rico who taught there as well as in the Springfield public school systems. She uses handouts and books to strengthen both written and oral English.

Her classes meet Mondays through Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and typically draw at least a dozen students from all over the city. While many are transplants from Puerto Rico and other Latin and Central American countries, some come from Africa and elsewhere.

“It’s a basic program that helps a lot of people. We teach them how to speak when they go to the doctor’s office, or their children’s schools, or to the grocery store. Some of our students keep going and end up going to school,” Marin said.

Five students in recent years have gone on to Springfield Technical Community College, where they earn certificates and degrees for marketable jobs.

4664 days ago / Our Residents
Site by 816 New York