by Schae Richards, community editor
A classroom is full of students of different nationalities. The students talk to each other. They work together. They leave the classroom together. They eat lunch together. To each other, they are the same.
The English Language Center of Cache Valley is a non-profit organization in North Logan that serves adult immigrants through instructional courses on English and basic life skills.
Katie Jensen, co-founder of the English Language Center, said the organization started as a simple idea with a special purpose in mind. “We wanted it to be a place of love and understanding,” she said.
Katie’s vision for the organization came true as it has and continues to influence the lives of hundreds of immigrants each year. Since founded in 1998, the English Language Center has secured a local facility where its students can learn in a safe environment. “Some of these students have been through horrors you can’t imagine,” she said. “The English Language Center is a safe place for them.”
The English Language Center is made up of 80-90 different courses taught throughout the year, ranging from pre-literate to pre-university English level classes, to U.S citizenship preparation, to basic computer literacy classes, to basic life skills instruction. The English Language Center also offers students real-life experiences through local field trips, and through their student council, which is in charge of organizing their annual family picnic.
Katie said the English Language Center is helping people achieve things that once seemed impossible. One student immediately comes to her mind.
Sadio, an immigrant from Somalia, is a student who has greatly benefited through her experience at the English Language Center.
When expecting her eighth child, Sadio fled from her home to a refugee camp, leaving everything behind. Sadio was eventually able to move to the United States for a fresh start with her children. When she first came to English Language Center, she had no knowledge of the English language. Sadio now participates in the level two English class, has a job and is able to go about her day-to-day tasks comfortably.
Many other students at the English Language Center have similar success stories. “These students have not had the opportunity to have education in their life, or have had very limited education,” she said. “We see them get jobs; we see them communicate with their children; we see them go to college or attend a job training program; we see their dignity restored.”
Katie said the English Language Center continues to build relationships between its students while creating a stronger community. “In any given class, you may have people from 15 different countries,” she said. “Our students tell us, ‘All our lives, we were told to hate people from this country, but now we know this person and we see they are good.’ That’s how you change the world.”
Discover opportunities at the English Language Center by visiting elc-cv.org.