Students learn as they tutor recent immigrants


December 22, 1997|By Jean Leslie | Jean Leslie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE FOREIGN Information and Referral Network (FIRN) of Howard County has for many years been offering support to Howard County's newest residents: recent immigrants.

One of FIRN's many successful endeavors is the Learn and Serve America program, in which high school students tutor a new immigrant one-on-one weekly.

The students make a commitment to help for six months.

The students improve their communication and English skills as well as gaining a greater understanding of cultural diversity and civic responsibility as they tutor.

More than 100 Howard County students have participated, contributing more than 6,000 hours of community service.

About one-third of the students doing the tutoring are recent immigrants.

Ellicott City has had 21 student tutors. Students who have tutored in past years are Charisse Ferrer, Yeoten Tsui, Marie Ziesat, Monica Schneider, Ruda Lee, Gabriela Gryczynski, Brigitte Goss, Jeanne Grunwell, Jennifer Troesche, Helene Liu, Lauren McColley, Jessica Lin and Kate Rhudy.

Students currently tutoring are Lauren Whitney Gill, Laura Babkes, "Queenie" Yin-Nei Liu, Don Kim, Tae Yee, Christine Kim, Angie Hsieh and Tae Hee Kim.

Queenie Liu, who has tutored three students, is fluent in Cantonese and English.

She also volunteers at FIRN's citizenship workshops and performed on the zhang, a traditional Chinese instrument, at FIRN's International Festival in April.

Lauren Gill stayed on with FIRN after completing a six-month tutoring assignment with a Latino boy.

She brought fellow African American Awareness Club members to volunteer for FIRN's International Cabaret and helps in the schools by interpreting at teacher conferences when parents are Spanish-speaking.

Angie Hsieh tutored a young Korean woman and then participated in FIRN's naturalization ceremony and represented FIRN at Columbia's International Day.

She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Tae Yee has just begun his volunteer service with FIRN. He speaks Korean and English and is learning Spanish in high school.

He tutors a Mexican man in English and citizenship.

Tae came to FIRN with extensive volunteer experience with nursing homes, family adoption organizations, Howard County's Office of Human Rights and his church.

"The young people from Ellicott City are remarkable and deserve recognition," says volunteer coordinator Gina Giacomantonio.

For more information on tutoring and FIRN's many other programs, call 410-992-1923.

Our city in art

Local artist Bill Sachs has created a series of historically accurate lithographs of Ellicott City, available in signed and numbered editions of 500.

Sachs has carefully researched details for each lithograph.

Earlier offerings include "The Millrace," "The Grist" and "Crossroads West."

His new works are "Covered Bridge in Autumn" -- which depicts the bridge that spanned the Patapsco River between Howard and Baltimore counties -- and "The Patapsco Female Institute," which portrays the school at commencement in 1840 and features a portrait of Principal Alvirah Hart Lincoln Phelps.

The lithographs can be purchased at Spring House Designs, 8111 Main St. in Ellicott City. Framing is available.

Information: 410-461-6818.

Students help seniors

Elkridge Elementary School pupils Jennifer Burton and Angelica Hoskins are holding a fund-raiser to help Elkridge senior citizens.

They will make crafts to sell and use the proceeds to buy equipment for Elkridge Senior Center.

The children need raw materials in the form of old picture puzzles -- even incomplete ones -- and buttons to make the crafts.

Donations of these items would be appreciated. They may be sent to Amy Colman at the school.

On Christmas Eve

Community members are welcome to attend Christmas Eve services this week.

Chapelgate Presbyterian Church will hold a Family Worship Service at 7 p.m. The service is designed for children.

A Candlelight Service at 11 p.m. will feature the Chapelgate Choir and a message from Pastor Ron Steel.

The church is at 2600 Marriottsville Road in Ellicott City.

Epiphany Lutheran Church will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service at 10: 30 p.m.

Epiphany is at 9122 Sybert Drive in Ellicott City.

Trinity Episcopal Church will hold its Children's Pageant and Family Service at 6 p.m. and its Traditional Service and Eucharist at 11 p.m.

Trinity is at 7474 Washington Blvd. in Elkridge.

'Little House' at the library

Sharon Unger, Elkridge branch library children's librarian, will share her love of Laura Ingalls Wilder's snowy days in her program "Little House Winter," to be presented at 10: 30 a.m. Dec. 31.

The program is for children age 6 and older.

Registration begins today. To register, call 410-313-5085 or visit the library.

Hats off

Students who receive an A in every school subject on their report cards get a "hats off" from me.

Keep up the great work.

In Dunloggin Middle School, eighth-graders Abigail Adams, Benjamin Cathcart, Jane Hudson, Lindsay Martin, Elizabeth Nyborg, Ziying Shen, Michelle Tarr, Matthew Kircher and Janet Zhou all got straight A's.

So did seventh-graders Nicole Arkin, Ashley Blount, Eric Cheng, Warren Chen, Caroline Gifford, Emily Gross, Patrick Hughes, Heather Keels, Si-Yang Li, Qi Liu, Elizabeth Medina-Gray, Alysa Procida and Nina Wang.

Sixth-graders earning all A's on their report cards were Mona Beier, Abigail Brackins, Nathan Cook, Timothy Flerage, Christine Gobbett-Levno, Antardeb Guharay, Barry Huang, Stephen Jayanathan, Yu Jiang, Brenna Joesting, Curan Muhlberger, Katherine Pembroke, Richard Peng, Matthew Skalka, Kelly Swinson, Patrick Valdivia and Bill Wang.

Seniors in motion

Elkridge Senior Center will offer its winter exercise session from Jan. 13 to March 5.

Classes will be from 9: 30 a.m. to 10: 30 a.m. each Tuesday and Thursday.

The program is designed to increase cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and flexibility.

Registration: 410-796-2075.

Pub Date: 12/22/97

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