...Halina Stashcheniuk
"I was scared, but I closed my eyes and took a step forward." – Halina

Halina Stashcheniuk, 32, began attending classes at Open Door Learning Center after arriving from Belarus. In these excerpts from her submission to Journeys and a goodbye letter to staff, Halina reflects on her experience as an English language learner.
  • At registration, site coordinator Mary had a nice conversation with my personal translator, my husband, because I could understand absolutely nothing. I just smiled and whispered to my hubby, "Just make sure to tell Mary that my English is a zero. No, even worse than that – a negative zero"!
  • Teacher Paul is a great educator who’s passionate about his craft. He must have had a voice implant, because he was the only person I could understand. Not my classmates, not a store clerk, but just him!
  • The first month was extremely tough, but it gradually started to get better. My vocabulary started to grow with new words and phrases: "Hands up, open notebooks, sign in."
  • After I started studying English, my fear of people began to vanish. Everything around me my neighbors, my store, my school, my teachers and friends made me feel at home. I was scared, but I closed my eyes and took a step forward.
  • Thanks to Open Door, I got more confident, knowledgeable and gained friends! I am eternally grateful to everyone here.
Editor's note: Halina graduated from Open Door Learning Center in December 2015 and accepted a position as a data entry specialist.
3 cheers for 3 achievements!
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28,000 Hotline flyers distributed to families

In partnership with Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools, we distributed flyers to kids at 41 elementary schools. Addressed to parents, the flyers share how to find free adult basic education programs, including GED, ESL and computer classes.
Tech Services trains 35 AmeriCorps members

Thanks to the Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP), 35 national service members are teaching technology in local nonprofits, libraries and schools. Many of these members have ample computer skills but are less familiar with teaching. Our training on planning computer skills lessons bridges the gap.
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New volunteer info sessions

If you want to see firsthand the impact your support makes, consider volunteering with us! (We thank our many donors who already volunteer.) New volunteer information sessions cover all the ways to get involved with the literacy council, from one-time opportunities to regular weekly commitments. There will be plenty of time to meet staff and ask questions!

Register for upcoming sessions:
Friday, February 19, 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Monday, February 22, 6 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.

Session facilitator Mela Shah
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