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6201 Leesburg Pike
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“Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace.” St. Thomas Aquinas
Bonjour Hogarians near and far! For many people, fall is a welcomed season with its vibrant colors and cool, crisp air. However, there are those are facing hardships and even homelessness as the cold weather descends upon us. Please consider joining me and the Catholic Charities staff at the Help the Homeless Walkathon on November 21st. On that day we will walk together in solidarity to do our part for the homeless in our community. We are also in need of food to replenish our food pantry at both the Western Regional Office in Leesburg and at Christ House in Alexandria. Food supplies around northern Virginia are all low and anything you can contribute would be much appreciated.
Hogar welcomes new staff attorney, Christie Herbas-Turner! She hails from New Hampshire and after attending law school in Texas, we sure are glad she landed in DC.
The next Naturalization Workshop will be held in Springfield at St. Bernadette on November 7th. Please see below on how you participate in such an exciting volunteer opportunity!
Lastly, don’t miss our volunteer spotlight on co-teachers, Mary and Kathy, from Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge. These women are passionate about teaching English and making a big difference in their students’ lives. Thank you to all of our volunteers and supporters who further our mission to improve the lives of immigrants.
Group Manager, Education Services
Sign Up For Hogar’s Teacher Trainings!
Hogar’s Fall 2009 Teacher Training Series is almost over! Take a look at the remaining trainings and register today!
November 7, 1 – 3 pm
What is culture and how does it shape your outlook on the world? Most likely, your background is different than that of your students, and you will have distinct perspectives. In this presentation, we will try to gain a better understanding of their perspective, as well as your own, to improve your ability to teach and relate to them. You will participate in fun and reflective activities offering insight into your own culture and a look through the eyes of your students.
Low prep activities and games
November 21, 10 am – 12 pm
Have you ever forgotten about lesson planning until the last minute? Have you ever run out of things to do before class is over? Do you ever wonder if your students enjoy being in class and will return week after week? This training is full of ideas that require little-to-no preparation, but are still big hits in the classroom, including simple tried and true games that will keep your students coming back for more. You’ll leave equipped to teach interesting classes without slaving away on prep work.
Attend as many as you want! All trainings will be held in Hogar's Falls Church office (6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 310, Falls Church, VA 22044). Please RSVP to Erin Maradiegue at 703-534-9805 x 251 or email email@example.com with the following information filled out:
Name (first and last):
We look forward to seeing you there!
Welcome To Hogar’s Newest Legal Team Member Christie Turner-Herbas!
We are pleased to have a new immigration attorney on staff! Christie has just completed a fellowship at National Women’s Law Center in Washington D.C. where she researched and co-authored a report on barriers to high school graduation faced by Latina women. Christie attended law school at the University of Texas at Austin where she participated in the school’s immigration law clinic. Her immigration experience also includes internships at the Spanish Catholic Center in D.C., the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), and the Political Asylum Project in Austin. Christie was born and raised in New Hampshire and now lives with her husband Mauricio in Washington D.C. She enjoys cooking and spending time with her eight-month-old Welsh Corgi named Harry. Please feel free to introduce yourself to Christie the next time you’re in the office.
Naturalization Workshops Are Coming To Springfield!
The next Naturalization Workshop will be hosted on November 7 at 10 AM at St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church in Springfield (7600 Old Keene Mill Rd. Springfield, VA 22152). To learn more about how you can help at a Naturalization Workshop contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The WRO Works With Other Agencies To Assist Local Families
The Western Regional Office has been working very hard this past month. The WRO had the privilege to be apart of a multi-agency effort. Staff and volunteers took part in the removal of hundreds of furniture items and household items. The (3) local homes that were used as shelters within Loudoun County were closing. The county had removed all necessary items for the new facility and asked Catholic Charities to take what it wanted. Through the collaborated efforts of St. Theresa’s, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army and Catholic Charites, we were able to help dozens of deserving families.
Give Your Community The Gift Of A Good Meal This Holiday Season
This winter the Western Regional Office is asking for donations in the form of grocery store gift cards, Target gift cards, or Walmart gift cards. Toys are a wonderful gift for a child, but with a gift card families can better meet the needs of their children by filling their bellies or filling their arms with toys.
Incorporating A Holiday Into Your Lesson!
National holidays are a wonderful theme for any ESL class. They draw awareness to local events and customs and are a great opportunity for cultural exchange. Classes of all levels can participate because of the abundance of activities available regarding holidays.
Since this is October, and everyone’s favorite holiday is coming up on the 31st, let’s talk about Halloween! Many students may know what Halloween is because they have heard of it or celebrate it to some extent in their own country, but they may not know exactly how it is celebrated in the United States. Discuss the festivities here in the U.S. and compare them with the celebrations in their native countries. Follow up the discussion with an activity or a worksheet practicing the holiday vocabulary they just learned. The worksheets highlighted in http://bogglesworldesl.com/halloween_worksheets.htm are some great examples of ways you can enhance the students’ understanding, awareness and enjoyment of Halloween or any other holiday at every class level!
Kathy Sexton and Mary Hovey began volunteering as teachers in the literacy-level class in January of 2008, the second semester that ESL classes were offered at Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge. Read on to hear about their experiences teaching!
What inspired you to begin volunteering with Hogar?
Kathy: I had read in the church bulletin that volunteers were needed, and I had always been interested in helping, and had wanted to help people learn to read. It sounded like a neat thing to do and I wasn’t disappointed at all! It made it even nicer when I realized I knew Mary, who had been assigned as my partner. We had met over the years, as we both go to the same church, and often the same functions at church. Her son and my son went to school together, from kindergarten on.
Mary: I have a lot of friends who are older, and I often hear complaints from them about immigrants not speaking English. For example, when they go to McDonalds and can’t understand the cashier, they complain. It did get me thinking, “You know, I can speak English, and so I can probably teach English”. Now, when my friends complain I say, “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?”
What is the most challenging aspect of teaching literacy-level learners?
Mary: The most challenging aspect at the literacy level is that it is truly a multi-level class. I have woman named Isabel in my class who can discuss Hamlet with you, and a man named Octavio who is still struggling with the ABCs. Isabel has grandchildren to speak English to, but Octavio has no one. There is no immersion other than the few hours we have him in class.
Kathy: There can be a lot of frustration when I can’t get the meaning of a word across. I feel that if I could just say it in Spanish they would get it. We do a lot of pantomiming and usually they eventually understand. The other frustrating thing is when we have students that we can’t help as much as we would like, due to their learning disabilities, but we can’t concentrate on just one student- there just is not enough time.
What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching literacy-level learners?
Kathy: …at the end of the class when we tell them what a good job they’ve done, and they respond with “good teachers!” Then I know we really did a good job that night.
Mary: …when the light bulb goes on and they go, “Oh, I get it!” and you feel that, “Yes! We did it!”
How do your teaching styles compliment each other?
Kathy: It’s kind of funny, (and don’t get me wrong) but Mary teaches dog training, and some of the things she does with dog owners work in the classroom. And she’s good at reading people. She’d be able to tell in one or two sessions who isn’t doing well and who isn’t getting this or that. And as small as I am, Mary is smaller, so it’s kind of like watching a comedy duo. We both care about the students a lot. Originally I wanted this level because I thought it would be the easiest. I realize now it might be the most difficult, but I wouldn’t give it up.
Mary: Kathy is more methodical. And I tend to be a little more spontaneous.
What is one of your favorite classroom activities?
Mary and Kathy: Games on the board! Particularly the flyswatter game, which we call “Smack the Board”.
What has been one of your biggest accomplishments so far as a volunteer?
Mary: Anytime the students move up to the beginner class! A lot of our students are in literacy more for confidence-building than for anything else. When they move up to the next level and they stop by on their way to class the next semester and say “Hello! How are you?” and they aren’t self-conscious at all, that is very gratifying. They aren’t standing there translating in their head, it’s natural to them. They’re thinking in English.
Kathy: One of our students, Jorge, really loved being with us and I think we made him feel more confident. We’ve had other students that we’ve been proud of, but we’re particularly proud of Jorge. We’d like to see him continue through all of the levels. He really liked to help the other students when he could- not with reading and writing exercises- but when they struggled with listening comprehension.
What do you like to do besides teach English?
Kathy: I like to read, and I like working with kids. I’ve been working with the Girl Scouts since 1980 as a leader and many other positions. I enjoy playing with my grandchildren- I have thirteen!
Mary: I like to sleep, cook, and eat, though I’d rather eat than cook. For that reason I love going to the fiestas at the end of the semester. I also do dog training and dog rescue work.
Thank you Mary and Kathy for all your dedication and hard work! We appreciate it and we know your students do as well!
Legal Services Helps A Mother Reunite With Her Children
Marieta*, a 29-year-old native of El Salvador, came to the United States to join her parents at the age of 18. She came as a single mother, leaving behind a 6-month-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. Conditions in El Salvador at that time made it difficult for a single mother to earn a good living and provide opportunities for her children. She began work in the United States at a restaurant, and later got jobs as an office cleaner and a childcare provider. Much of the money she earned she sent back to her children in El Salvador, who were living under the care of her aunt. She was glad to know that because of her sacrifice her children had opportunities that other children didn’t, such as attending school, but Marieta missed her children very much.
Because Marieta’s parents had filed an application for asylum in the United States back in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, Marieta was able to get immigration work authorization as a minor (under 21 years old) derivative of that application. In 2001 her parents received permanent residency through the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). This law states that minor children of NACARA recipients are also eligible for permanent residency once they have seven years of continuous physical presence in the United States. In 2001 Marieta did not yet have the required seven years, but she did quality for Temporary Protected Status. This protection was granted by President Bush following devastating earthquakes in El Salvador and covered those Salvadorans who had continuously resided in the United States since February 12, 2001. Although Marieta’s TPS meant that she was protected from removal and was given legal permission to work in the United States, she was not allowed to travel outside of the country to visit her children. For the formative years of her children’s lives she would only be able to communicate with them by way of letters and phone calls.
Temporary Protected Status is granted by the government for a limited number of months at a time. This means that approximately every 18 months there is a re-registration period in which Salvadorans must re-apply for the benefit. Marieta has been coming to Hogar Legal Services for many years in order to complete her TPS applications. It wasn’t until her last re-registration in November 2008 that Hogar staff realized she had surpassed her seven-year residency requirement and was eligible to apply for her greencard through NACARA. When Marieta learned this news, she beamed with hope and excitement at the thought of being able to finally visit her children in El Salvador. Her I-881 application for NACARA was filed in May of 2009 and she was scheduled for an interview at the Arlington Asylum Office on September 24, 2009. Hogar staff member Cindy Brown was fortunate to be with her at her interview where she was approved for permanent residency after 11 years of living in the United States. Marieta plans to travel with her parents to El Salvador for Christmas, and is contemplating surprising her aunt and children who are not aware that she applied for permanent residency. We at Hogar wish Marieta all the best and look forward to helping her petition for her children to join her here so that the family may be reunited after so many years of separation.
*Names were changed in order to protect the privacy of our clients.
The WRO Lends Support To A Family In Crisis
She looked out her window of the Catholic Charities Western Regional Office and noticed a woman sitting just outside the office in her car. Dawn Dumas, the Manager of the Catholic Charities Regional Office in Leesburg, could tell the woman was crying. Dawn walked outside to the parking lot, where she smiled at the woman through the car window and asked her if she was okay. The woman rolled down her window but declined Dawn’s invitation saying she was too embarrassed. Eventually, Dawn convinced the visitor to come in for some tissues.
While the woman wiped her eyes, she explained that she was working as a nurse but that her husband had been unemployed for nearly a year. The woman said that she had picked up extra shifts, but that they were unable to make ends meet and provide for their four children. The woman told Dawn that she had always been responsible and never thought she would find herself in such a predicament.
The visitor related that while pulling into the Catholic Charities’ parking lot, the reality of how bad her situation had become suddenly struck her and she felt too paralyzed to go inside. While Dawn packed up food for the woman and her family, she consoled the woman by telling her she was not alone. “Demand for food has more than doubled over the past year”, Dawn told the woman, “and Catholic Charities is doing its best to respond to the need.” As she handed the woman bags of food that would get the family through the next week or two, Dawn thanked her for coming to Catholic Charities in her time of need.
Catholic Charities Delivers Food To Hundreds Across The Diocese
The CHOW (Christ House On Wheels) program began in 2007 as an outreach program to service the outlying areas of the diocese. The premise is to drive food out to the food pantries throughout the diocese. They in turn give the food out to the locals who are in need. By having the local food pantries identify the individuals in need Catholic Charities can serve a greater number of people. The CHOW program has been making regular trips whenever the food supplies are available. To date CHOW has made 61 deliveries, fed 1,420 families, and distributed approximately $49,700 worth of food, but there is more to be done.
Whenever the CHOW program contacts a pantry to ask if they’d like a delivery of food the answer is always a ‘yes’. The CHOW program frequently receives calls from food pantries in dire circumstances. They describe the difficulties that they’ve had in adjusting to the increased demand our economy has put them under. They say their resources are drying up. The pantries that CHOW delivers to are in a constant state of crisis that out strips the supply. Many of the pantries that have been able to stay open risk running out when CHOW is not able to deliver. If they close, people go hungry. Everyone involved in the CHOW program is working as hard as they can to ensure this does not happen.
Demand will always be greater than the supply. While this is always the rule, Catholic Charities is in tighter times than normal. The CHOW program needs your help in order to meet the demand. If you are able to participate in any way, you would be helping families that might otherwise be unable to put food on the table. Food donations, gas cards, grocery cards, and money to keep the elderly cargo van in working order are just a few ways you can be a part of the CHOW program.
If you would like to be involved more directly, CHOW needs people to run the logistics of the program. Volunteer to help with outreach, schedule deliveries, and driving to make the deliveries.
Join Catholic Charities' Fight Against Homelessness
Catholic Charities is walking in the 22nd annual Fannie Mae Help the Homeless 5k Walkathon, Saturday, November 21. You can join us by registering at www.helpthehomelessdc.org. Registration is $25 for adults and $15 for youth (25 and younger). You can also direct your registration fee to Catholic Charities by listing VA011 as your beneficiary code when you register.
On the day of the walk, look for the large 'C' to find fellow Catholic Charities participants. Bring family and friends to make it a fun-filled morning!
Donate Your Car To Hogar
If you are looking to buy a new car, consider donating your old vehicle to Hogar Immigrant Services, Catholic Charities. Your donation would be tax-deductible. The car will allow Hogar staff to further assist the immigrant population living throughout Northern Virginia. Contact John Odenwelder at email@example.com for more information.