VINE receives federal Older Americans Act funds to target services to culturally and racially diverse elders in the Minnesota River Valley. Since the program’s inception in 2015, VINE has assisted nearly 100 elders from 16 different countries. VINE’s outreach to refugee elders includes advocacy, phone contact, escort, translation, form assistance, and service coordination essential to successful independent community living.
Under supervision of a certified ELL instructor at VINE, retired educators volunteer at the Adult Literacy Center and help refugee elders and other literacy-challenged adults improve reading and writing skills. Increased English literacy enables participants to become more fully engaged and successful in their community. Aging refugees with limited English proficiency benefit from the opportunity to socialize with other elders and VINE volunteers. Classes are held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at the VINE Adult Community Center. Transportation can be arranged.
My mom lives with my family. Before my mom started going to class she would sleep late into the morning. I would worry about her at home by herself all day while we were at work or the children were at school. Since she started going to class she is getting ready for school when children are getting ready for school and she is happy. She tells us about her day and she hangs her papers on the refrigerator next to her grandchildren’s school papers. She also has friends from many countries that she didn’t have before.
I enjoy going to class because I learn many things about America from my friendly teachers and they teach me to speak English better.
Each time I volunteer, I am so inspired by the student’s willingness and persistence to learn English.