Writing program helps refugees reach American dream
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 25, 2006
Door by door, student by student, Americorps member Jennifer Smith rounds up
teens living in a largely Liberian refugee apartment complex. Writing class is
about to begin.
"They give us the words and then we have to look at the words and make a
sentence out of it," explains Samuel Williams, student.
The "Write Away" program, Smith's creation, teaches creativity and self
expression, familliarizing students with English. For the students here, it's a
very foreign language. "Completely regardless of what their English proficiency
is they all try. They're eager to learn and they have a great voice and a great
story to tell," says Jennifer Smith, Americorps member and the program's
"Growing up in America as a person from another country, I've got to learn how
to do everything that's hard so I can make it in America," says Williams.
By scribbling sentences, students break down barriers. For volunteers, no reward
is better than being able to show others they can believe in themselves.
Refugees happy, hungry to excel