As a kick-off to the latest session of English classes via The Learning Connection, Juneauites from across the globe met and shared pieces of their heritage and food.
The event was an open breakfast, which also included several traditional Korean dishes, sushi rolls and Alaska salmon chowder — just to name a small sample. TLC, part of the Southeast Regional Resource Center, put on the event to grow a little more awareness about its free English as a Second Language classes.
“Last year we served students from 35 countries,” said English teacher Heather Parker. “Samoa, Argentina, South Korea, China are some right now.”
Parker said there also are a lot of students from Spanish speaking countries like Mexico and Guatemala, and others from places like Brazil, Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Parker said they have English students from 10 months old to people in their 80s.
“Today we’re trying to accomplish more awareness of the different classes and services we offer and will continue to offer,” Parker said. “Our classes have been ongoing but we wanted to have a big community event.”
Classes run at both the downtown SERRC location and at TLC’s location in Gruening Park. Parker said the nice thing about the Gruening Park location is it’s set up for families, so parents can come for citizenship or language courses and their children can also have instruction — or learn colors or a variety of activities. The program also runs with volunteer instruction at the University of Alaska Southeast.
People can enroll for beginner, intermediate or advanced level English.
Parker said there is a graduation ceremony in May that’s not just for those who complete their citizenship, but also those in the English program.
Parker said if people can’t make it to the classes, there is another option for language learning. Last year it received a grant from the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services and they purchased Rosetta Stone for the program — so students can come in on their own time and get assistance.
Taralee Elis teaches adult basic education and works with the afterschool program with TLC.
She said they also offer assistance preparing for General Education Degrees, learning Excel, filing for Permanent Fund Dividends and assistance with filing taxes.
The center has computers to assist with those, Elis said, and children also can use the computers once their homework is done. The center also has study programs the school district uses so students can work on those.
Friday’s event focused on global sharing and a refresher on some items in the citizenship test. Participants wrote their name on an arrow-style Post-it and placed it on a map for where they are from. Another game was social Bingo, that got participants asking each other an array of questions that helped with cultural understanding. They also played Worldwide Jeopardy with categories in food and money, continents and countries, holidays, geography, citizenship and people.
Questions included: Who is the vice president of the United States? What are the three branches of the U.S. Government? What’s a special food eaten during a holiday (any country)? Name two countries in Asia. What’s the currency used in most European countries?
For more information on the program see www.serrc.org/learning-connection/tlc.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.