The Brunner Literacy Center's new site on Brown Street has officially opened its doors! Located at 1046 Brown St, within walking distance of the University of Dayton, BLC Brown Street operates in partnership with Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley who are generously donating spaces for the BLC to conduct tutoring sessions. A second partnership site at 922 Riverview Ave is scheduled to open in January 2017.
While the Brunner Literacy Center on Salem Avenue offers a wide array of program options, BLC Brown Street takes a specific focus: ESOL instruction for refugees who have resettled in the Dayton area. ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is an area of critical need for people who move to the United States seeking better lives for themselves and their families.
Sr. Paula Gero, Program Coordinator for the Brunner Literacy Center's Catholic Social Services sites, empathizes with the difficulties brought on by language barriers and is excited about bringing English language skills to people in need in Dayton. Sr. Paula explains, "I am really looking forward to this new challenge. The Brown Street ESOL program is a unique opportunity to help our newest community members. I remember how intimidated I was during the week I spent in Paris - and I had studied French for years! If our new site can help people to feel comfortable (and understood!), it will be well worth the work the whole BLC team has put into it."
Photos and story continue after the jump.
Affectionately dubbed the "Literacy Alcove" by Catholic Social Services staff, BLC Brown Street can be found on the second floor of the CSS building in a hallway directly across from the elevator doors. The space is small and cozy, and is equipped to handle up to three tutoring sessions at a time. Says Sr. Paula, "We hope that we can help up to 24 people during the week."
The BLC is currently seeking tutors for the Brown Street location. ESOL instruction has its own unique challenges and joys, and the experience of helping someone learn a new language is creative and rewarding. Sr. Paula has some advice for interested parties:
"I think that an ESOL tutor has to be part actor. I remember demonstrating the word 'crawl' to one student, to the amusement of everyone in the room! A tutor must be willing to show where the tongue goes for the 'L' sound, to repeat everything, to listen and listen and listen, and to cheer every victory. I am amazed and awed by the many volunteers we have who are willing and able to do all this with dedication and a smile!"
If you want to improve the lives of refugees in Dayton, please contact the Brunner Literacy Center today at 937-567-9600 to speak with Kathy Reed, BLC Program Manager, about how you can help.
BLC Brown Street's hours of operation:
11/2 EDIT: Please note that the hours listed above are currently a tentative schedule. Due to the youth of the program at this site, the schedule is subject to change according to the needs of the students.