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Hallelujah Moment from the South Bronx:
Creating Horizons

by Nancy Daleney

 
Three women smile for the camera.
Deaconess Nancy Daleney, center.
Image by: Mission Personnel

My call to mission as a Deaconess and Church & Community Worker has been answered through my assignment to the Creating Horizons Project under the Latino Institute of Pastoral Care, Inc. This ministry focuses on immigration issues and entails working with the community and its needs. One major segment of my work has been to provide workshops on health, housing, education, immigration and other issues.

There is a large community of Mexican families in the South Bronx.  While working with them I learned that their main concern is their children's education. During a PTA meeting, the mothers expressed the need to learn English in order to be able to communicate with their children’s teachers and also to have the necessary language skills to help their children with their homework. I prepared for the task of teaching them English by attending workshops, visiting ESL (English As A Second Language) schools, and by doing a lot of research. I can now teach two ESL classes and feel blessed to be able to help address the needs of these families. Following are some of the comments from mothers participating in the ESL classes that illustrate the value of the classes and point out other needs in this community:

  • "I hope I will learn enough English to be able to understand how my child is progressing in school. Thank you for teaching us English, for the school supplies and mostly for your care and support."
  • "I can't wait until I learn English. I want to be able to understand people and hear what they are saying. It is painful to walk among people that do not speak your language. I feel like I am floating above the people, looking at their mouths moving but not hearing what they are saying, I believe I do this to protect myself from being hurt."
  • "I know you are here to teach us English but can you help me find a doctor? I am very worried because I have a lump in my breast and my family does not have health insurance."

As I continue to work with the large Mexican population in the South Bronx, I am also beginning to work with the predominately Spanish-speaking community on the Lower East Side of Manhattan living in the very large public housing complex. They too have so many needs; I pray that my ministry will help address some of those needs.

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See Also...
Topic: Advocacy Education GBGM programs Immigration Missionaries United Methodist Church
Geographic Region: United States
Source: Mission Personnel
 
 

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Date posted: Feb 20, 2006