The Family Literacy Program at Highbridge Community Life center caters to parents of P.S.73 students who lack verbal and written communication skills in the English language.
The program offers classes from Monday – Thursday at 979 Ogden Avenue assists men and women like Natividad Santos who neither reads nor writes in the English language, and has a desire to increase her knowledge in order to better assist her children as they are raised in a non-Spanish speaking country.
“I think the program is excellent,” Natividad, a mother of two from the Dominican Republic, says, “It’s very hard in this country to not speak English, but the teacher makes it easy and fun for me and my children. My daughter loves the program. She waits for it every week.”
Highbridge Community Life Center is a leader in providing a free, quality education to the community. The family literacy program for families of P.S.73 provides a completely free opportunity for parents to improve their basic reading, writing, and spoken English skills. Parents also participate in literacy activities and group projects with their children, and weekly parenting classes are provided so that parents have a better understanding of their children’s educational and personal development. Since it caters to parents of students specifically from P.S.73, coordinators also have a close relationship with school administrators, PTA, and parent coordinators.
“The program takes a very holistic approach to meeting parent needs,” said Cecilia Peralta, the program coordinator. “For example, we make visits to the food pantry at least once a month for those who need it. In addition, students receive the emotional help and support that they may need.”
A few of the Family Literacy students also take classes at the 1438 Ogden location of Highbridge Community Life Center. The main site offers courses in citizenship, ESL, basic education and GED and job training.
“We have a wide range of students and parents from the Highbridge neighborhood,” Peralta continues. “We are happy to help them. This program does not only focus on one aspect of a parent’s life, but their life in this country as a whole.”