North End/West End ESOL Participants Honored

ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) honored 43 students from over 15 countries for their success in completing the 2015/2016 Adult Education Program.

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program is the only program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the North and West End neighborhoods.

The program’s mission is to provide English language skills to adult immigrants in order to prepare students for success in their next steps, such as college, job training, employment for the first time, advanced employment, and/or to become active participants in their communities.

This year Maria Stella Gulla, NE/WE NSC Director, was the keynote speaker.  She shared some inspirational words to celebrate the students’ achievements, many of whom have to juggle work, their families here, and supporting their families home financially.  Maria Stella enthused, “The ESOL program is very dear to me. As the oldest daughter of immigrants, I know how important it is to learn English in order to achieve the goals that you set when you made the life changing decision to come to this wonderful nation of opportunities.  My parents did not have the option of attending an ESOL class –it was another time,” said Gulla.

New ESOL Coordinator Nikola Kovacevic; Instructor, Sean Keane; Educational and Career Advisor, Don Strange; and former ESOL Coordinator, Gretchen Yochum were noted for their work.  The ESOL program volunteers included, Elizabeth Phillips, Joanne Kelley, Aferdita Gora, Eve Howell, Erin Miller, Pillar Herrero, and Cristina Quintino.

Community partners and stakeholders are, the Career Navigator Yi Yi Lu, at the Asian American Civic Association; Bunker Hill Community College (Shawn Fisher); Eagle Bank (Gisela DiPaola); the  North End Branch of the Boston Public Library (Susan Voloshin and Jennifer Hawes); Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition (Cristina Aguilera ,Amy Grunder, and Masill Miranda ); North End Music and Performing Arts Center (Sheri Snow); North End  Waterfront Health Center (Bianca Recinos and Mirna Festi);The Old North Church (Rev. Ellie Terry); Roxbury Community College (Chelsea Clark); Suffolk University (Jannese Kaitz); and many others.

The Red Sox, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Paul Revere House provided tours to the students helping them to acclimate to American culture and history.

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