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Gary has been a learner at the WCLC for over 10 years. This summer he is signed up for the summer reading program at the library. He loves to read about animals.
Gary works on his reading and math skills with David; he has his own math books and he learned how to use a calculator. David said that in the past year Gary has done very well on his reading and phonics, and he likes to keep Gary up to date and keep him practicing. Gary loves to read on his own and knows that practice is the best way to continue to learn.
Right now Gary works at Lakeside Packaging but wants a new job soon. His goal would be to work in a zoo because he loves animals. David and Gary have gone on field trips together to the zoo.
When conversation about refugees begins, it generally centers on safety and security. Less talked about – and just as, if not more important – are the benefits refugees bring to American communities, especially in terms of local economies. A June 2017 report by New American Economy examines exactly that.
On its website, New American Economy notes that it “brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today.” New American Economy members include the mayors of more than 35 million people and leaders of companies that “generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing.”
According to New American Economy, more than 3.4 million refugees have made the United States home since 1975. They pay taxes, purchase new homes, and even found businesses that create jobs. The 2017 report highlights multiple cities that owe some positive growth to refugee and immigrant communities: Bosnians in St. Louis, Somalis in Minneapolis, work-seeking refugees in Louisville who reinvigorated a slumping manufacturing economy.
New American Economy’s report, “From Struggle to Resilience,” is available here: http://www.newamericaneconomy.org/research/from-struggle-to-resilience-the-economic-impact-of-refugees-in-america/. Although the prevailing idea about refugees is how much they may cost to bring in, just a few minutes spent skimming the infographics and statistics, and it’s easy to see how refugees don’t strain local economies across the United States. Rather, refugees help sustain them.
Today – Tuesday, June 20, 2017 – is World Refugee Day. Take a moment to consider the numbers behind the world refugee crisis. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
- Each day, 28,300 people are forced to flee their home because of conflict and/or persecution.
- Approximately 65.6 million people have been forcibly displaced, worldwide.
- There are 22.5 million refugees around the world.
- Ten million are stateless.
- Only 189,300 refugees were resettled in 2016.
- Of all refugees, 16 percent are hosted in the US.
From Beirut to Belarus to the Vatican City, people around the world are coming together to celebrate and recognize refugees. Recognize is one thing; celebrate is another. Why celebrate? Because of the incredible endurance and fearlessness it takes to leave home, journey elsewhere, and begin again somewhere new.
What can you do to show your support for refugees right now?
- Sign a petition like this one, Stand #With Refugees, then share it with your friends and family.
- Join local initiatives that have a hand in assisting refugees. In Oshkosh, consider learning more about:
- World Relief Fox Valley: According to a recent Northwestern article, World Relief Fox Valley has been hard at work since the late 1990s. The agency helps refugees with “finding work, setting up bank accounts, enrolling children in school, and assisting with legal services.”
- Oshkosh Area United Way: United Way organizations work to increase health, education, and financial stability within the community, including newly resettled refugees.
- And the Winnebago County Literacy Council (WCLC): Our work is rooted in helping language learners become self-sufficient and “realize his or her potential through literacy.”
- Contact state legislators to let them know you care about refugees. See below for a complete list of phone numbers and mailing addresses for Wisconsin Congressional Representatives and Senators: Contact-Information-for-Wisc.-Congressional-Representatives-and-Senators.pdf
- Simply hear some of the harrowing stories of what it takes to leave home for the unknown with PBS Frontline’s “Exodus”
The plight of refugees around the world impacts you, and us, right here at home in the Fox Valley. When refugees arrive, we are enriched. Refugees can contribute to the overall diversity of our communities as with new and different cultures, languages, and views. Unfortunately, in January and again in March, two executive orders were signed severely limiting refugee entries. In terms of economics, the Fox Valley counts as an industrial hub with an excess of manufacturing jobs into the future. Needed is a workforce ready and willing to fill those jobs.
Refugees are eager to learn and work hard. At the core of WCLC’s mission is opportunity creation “for people to read, write, and speak English, and perform everyday skills with confidence.” Today and every day, WCLC stands #WithRefugees.
Are you interested in volunteering with Winnebago County Literacy Council (WCLC)? If so, there are three upcoming volunteer orientation times through summer to learn more about how you can help our learners. We’re always in need of volunteer tutors to help learners one-on-one, too. Below are the following days and times for our “Volunteer Foundations” courses :
- Friday, 23 June, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
- Tuesday, 11 July, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
- Friday, 11 August, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
“Foundations” takes place on the third floor of the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Avenue, Oshkosh, WI 54901. To register, call 920.236.5219 ext. 4802, or contact Mylia Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bethany Lerch at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
It’s not too late to register for Winnebago County Literacy Council (WCLC) English Language Learning (ELL) classes for Summer 2017. WCLC provides different classes:
- Family Literacy: Tuesdays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
- Conversational English 1 Beginner: Thursdays, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
- Conversational English 2 Intermediate to Advanced: Wednesdays, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
- Homework Help for ELL & ABE learners at Fox Valley Technical College: Tuesdays, June 13 & 20, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
For more information about classes or how to enroll, please click here.
Save the Date: Spellbound for Literacy 2017
Date: Thursday, April 6th, 2017
Time: 5pm – 8pm
Where: LaSure’s Banquet Hall
3125 S. Washburn St.
Oshkosh, WI 54904
CLICK HERE to register for Spellbound for Literacy 2017
Spelling Bee Team Competition for Adults
Start forming your team today!
$240 per team up to 6 people (plus $40 each additional person up to 8 max. per team)
$40 for individual spectators ($45 at the door)
All fees are due by March 31, 2017
You will enjoy spirited team rivalry and:
• Delicious hors d’oeuvres
• Cash bar
• Raffles for spectacular gift baskets
• Purchase wines from around the world
For more information on registering a team or sponsoring this event, call 920-236-5185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Oshkosh Area United Way believes in the Adult Tutoring, Family English Classes and the Road to Work efforts of the Winnebago County Literacy Council. When we all work together, individuals and families can achieve their highest potential.
Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, and participants for making Spellbound a success. Congratulations to the Spellbound champion, Backlot Comedy House, who was sponsored by the Oshkosh Northwestern.