Center helps teach English to immigrants

International Family Resource Center volunteers help to international adults, immigrants and refugees learn English.

The center offers a variety of classes to students who want to learn English or become an American citizen. Some of the classes offered are basic (for students who understand very little English), some are beginning, some intermediate and some are advanced.

The classes are suited by the student’s individual needs and a test is given to help place the students accordingly.

Volunteers also teach students survival skills such as how to read a newspaper, fill out an application, relate reading to writing, and how to calculate money. The Advance course teaches government and culture (citizenship). A computer laboratory is also provided to help students learn about computer software.

“Last year we had students from 71 different countries. Twenty percent spoke Spanish. We had refugees from Afghanistan and Africa,” said Gretchen Scronce, AmeriCorps VISTA outreach coordinator for the International center.

Classrooms provide a small class setting, making it more accessible to give students individual assistance. A typical classroom consists of one volunteer per four to 10 students.

An interpreter is available for students who only speak in their native language and needs an English translation. Scronce said the center has translators who can interpret 80 different languages and can be paired with the student upon requests.

The center would like to include an orientation class, which will be held on Friday mornings. Students wanting to take one class can do so for free; additional classes require a $100 fee.

Classes are offered every day except Friday. Sessions run simultaneously beginning at 8:45 a.m. until 2 p.m., each an hour and a half long.

“I think it’s [International center] a great program. It is interesting to work with people from different backgrounds. This is a great asset for Greater Cincinnati,” said Scronce. “I have a lot of fun; you gain skills and [it] is a great way to meet new people.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer must have an interest in working with adults from other countries, and no experience is required.

For additional information, call (513) 354-5717 or go to International Family Resource Center is located at 200 McFarland Street in Cincinnati.