The program has added value to my life because I’m helping someone develop a very important skill that will benefit them for the rest of their life.
This letter is to share my thoughts of the Columbus Adult Education Center and Youth Programs. In early 2020, I was asked to start a Youth Program for the Columbus Education Center. Our objective is to help our teen-age refugee and immigrant youth enhance their English skills so they are better prepared to enter a post-secondary education program.
The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic actually brought about an individualized, remote program for the Youth that works very well for both the students and the volunteers. Students work independently on Reading Horizons. Individual volunteer mentors are assigned who work remotely with students via Zoom or Facebook Messenger and practice pronunciation, increase reading comprehension, and improve conversational English. This worked well during COVID and is now our go-forward program since the students often don’t have transportation to the school. The schedules of students and volunteers are most easily accommodated when only two need to agree to the timeframe. Students are also provided with gift cards as incentives for spending time on Reading Horizons and working with their mentors.
I love seeing our students succeed. One student was attending SLCC, but really floundering. Her mentor was able to connect her with the right resources at SLCC to enroll in classes she was truly interested in and to work through numerous issues unfamiliar to her that would have otherwise caused her to drop out of school. Another student, graduating from high school, was helped by her mentor to complete her Financial Aid application, become admitted to SLCC, and be accepted into the “One Refugee” program, which is essentially a four year, full-ride scholarship. Her future is bright with possibilities thanks to the help provided her. Another younger student is full of excitement about the future of his education because reading English is becoming so much easier as he works on the Reading Horizons software.
We have been blessed with many great resources, both financial and time-wise, in our community. I am excited to see these resources come together to help some very motivated young people create exciting, contributing futures for themselves and their families,
Marsha Adams/Youth Program Director
I have been with Columbus for a few months, with the opportunity to do English mentoring with Anita. Overall, the experience has been very beneficial, as it has helped me to teach, but also to be able to accommodate for a student’s certain needs. While there were some bumps in the road, I feel like we’ve overcome them, and that Anita is learning much. I’ve started to see an even greater love for writing since working with her, which has brought a smile to my face.
My mother and I joined The Columbus School staff sometime around 2018. We wanted to have an opportunity to do service. I have met wonderful staff and students through the Columbus School. I started out working in the computer lab with the Reading Horizon program. I was born with cerebral palsy consequently, it is difficult for me to find service opportunities that I am physically able to do. I spent years teaching adults with disabilities in California.
When we had to start teaching on zoom because of the pandemic, I started doing reading with the students. The opportunity to teach on zoom expanded the reach of the school. Now we not only teach local students but people that are across the world. Everyone appreciates that this valuable service is done for free. It is a wonderful way for people to continue their education. Their new language and reading skills have the potential to open up new job opportunities for our student population.
Dear President Nelson. First of all a respectful and warm greeting. This is for the purpose of explaining my English language study opportunities. I am from Venezuela and have participated in various English language institutes. Now I enjoy Columbus. In which I do not pay anything and I learn English little by little. In a comfortable, pleasant and central place, with teachers who strive to teach us. I pray that these facilities can be maintained for said Institute. Thanking you with much love for everything you can do for our beloved institution. I love you President.
This is Neli from El Salvador.
I’m English Student from Columbus center.
I enjoy my English class and learn a little more every time. The Columbus center is very important for immigrants from different countries.
Pook Carson, PhD
My name is Pook Carson. I am on the Board of Directors of the Columbus Adult Education Center. I am also a learner and educator. As a professor, I admire the mission of the Center and what we have accomplished despite the hardships caused by COVID. The Center currently serves students from a wide variety of ethnicities in Utah and throughout the world.
These and the other programs offered by the Center are all very valuable contributions to the community of which I am very proud to be a part. I hope you also see the value of these activities and the critical role the Center plays in the lives of many new arrivals to the U.S. as they work to build their own American Dream. With the support of the Church, I am certain that the Center can continue to help refugee and immigrant communities and do even more to improve the lives of our neighbors in Utah and throughout the world.
Pook Carson, PhD
Professor, Salt Lake Community College and University of Utah.