In response to high demand by residents in some low-income neighborhoods, NOC has opened a window of opportunity for women and men who, because of lack of transportation or lack of time, are unable to attend English classes offered by other service providers. Individuals now have the opportunity to participate in English classes twice a week at NOC’s Program Centers in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island.
The location of NOC’s Program Centers has been vitally important in allowing individuals to participate in the evenings, after work, and before they settle down for the evening. NOC’s Bluffton program, which started last year, is carried out in partnership with Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry, while the program in Hilton Head Island, which began this summer, is conducted by Emily Blackshire, NOC’s Summer Learning Coordinator in HHI, with help from volunteers. The demand for this program remains high since individuals know that mastering basic English will empower them to get better jobs locally, give them dignity and self-esteem, and allow them to assimilate into the American culture.
Instructor Emily Blackshire notes that: “We want to foster an environment for community members to practice their language skills and learn English specifically geared towards the workplace and that will pertain to everyday life. Class will meet twice per week and students will be grouped with others on a similar level of knowledge of the English language. The class will be focused on what students find to be most applicable in their own lives so their input and participation are crucial in planning lessons. All aspects of the class will (ideally) be focused on exactly what students most struggle with and seek in an English class.”