NBC26 Cares: Literacy Green Bay
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
Immigrants who come to Northeast Wisconsin in search of a better life are getting some help on their path to citizenship. Literacy Green Bay and its volunteers are helping these new community members overcome a language barrier.
Antonio Jimenez is one of those transplants from Mexico. When he and his family moved to Green Bay seven years ago, he could only speak Spanish.
"It's very hard. It was very hard for me to not speak the language."
A friend told Antonio about Literacy Green Bay, and the non-profit organization matched him with volunteer tutor Tom Morrison.
"Anybody can do it as I am proof of that," said Morrison.
Literacy Green Bay gave the retired health care worker the training he needed to teach Antonio how to read and write in English. The two meet about six hours a week.
"It's not just staring at a book and writing on the chalkboard. It's a relationship," explained Kathy Cornell, Executive Director of Literacy Green Bay.
The non-profit organization also offers English classes and free on-site child care which Cornell believes has lead to the center's many success stories. Antonio is one of them. He is about to graduate from NWTC and pursue a career saving lives as a paramedic.
Antonio is grateful to his tutor, Tom, for changing his life and helping his family achieve the American dream.
"Now I can read to my sons almost any book. I can check his homework. I can try to help him," said Antonio.
Literacy Green Bay has helped more than 13,000 students in its 30 year history. It is a United Way organization and relies on grants and donations to operate. If you'd like to support the effort, Literacy Green Bay's Scrabble Bee fundraiser is February 21st at the Swan Club at Legends Brewhouse in De Pere.