Five days a week, the refugees attend English as a Second Language (ESL) class at the church through the Black Hawk College Family Literacy Program.
The ESL students are from many countries with the majority from Myanmar (formerly Burma), Iraq, and the African nations of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.
Over the past year, St. Ambrose University occupational therapy graduate students have formed a partnership with the Black Hawk College program. The St. Ambrose students have mentored the refugees in skills such as reading a recipe, writing a check, using a phonebook, understanding clothing sizes and using U.S. currency.
On Thursday night, the St. Ambrose students will read books to the children, sing songs and give the families goodie bags containing items such as shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
The program is a cooperative effort among Black Hawk College, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Literacy Program, the Rock Island School District, the Regional Office of Education Lights ON for Learning, the Rock Island Public Library and the Church of Peace.
The Church of Peace is located at 1114 12th St., Rock Island.
For more information, contact Dr. Jeff Blackwell at Black Hawk College at 309-796-5704 or Lisa Viaene at the Church of Peace at 309-788-6357.