GRANTEE PARTNER SPOTLIGHT

Ottumwa Immigration & Learning Center

Giving A Hand Up

The goal for the Center has always been to offer a positive environment where the immigrant community can learn English, equipping them with the skills necessary to obtain and keep jobs, improve communication with society and integrate positively.

To help the immigrant community in the Ottumwa area to become a thriving part of society by helping adults and youth to reach their potential and see themselves as leaders of the future

Even for someone familiar with his or her community it can often be difficult to maneuver all the systems necessary to perform and manage day-to-day transactions. An especially difficult challenge when language is a barrier to communication and understanding. This reality was quickly identified by the Ottumwa Immigration and Learning Center, who in 2010 initiated the groundwork to create a place to facilitate immigration outreach.

This vision, “To help the immigrant community in the Ottumwa area to become a thriving part of society by helping adults and youth to reach their potential and see themselves as leaders of the future”, is alive and well at the Learning Center. The Ottumwa Immigration and Learning Center offers participants the opportunity to learn both English and Spanish with language learning programs that are staffed by volunteer instructors who just so happen to be teachers as well .

The goal for the Center has always been to offer a positive environment where the immigrant community can learn English, equipping them with the skills necessary to obtain and keep jobs, improve communication with society and integrate positively. The Center has seen participants from many countries benefit from this customized learning format – India, Ethiopia, Mexico and Japan among them. Functioning in multiple capacities, the Center also serves as a safe place for students to come and do homework after school. Instructors also double as mentors, encouraging and guiding high school students who want to further their education. These mentors work alongside the students as they fill out applications and financial aid forms and help them to facilitate college visits – necessary steps to helping the students to attain their future goals. The Ottumwa Immigration and Learning Center is a grant recipient of the Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund. They are proud to use these funds to continue their work and the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation is proud to partner with them in this effort.