Cabrini Immigrant Services located in Dobbs Ferry, New York held a ceremony on Friday, February 15th for the first graduates of a new program “Enhancing Family Literacy through Education and Storytelling Program.” The program, which started in March, 2018 was attended by adult immigrant students from Mexico, Central and South America all of whom struggle with speaking, reading and writing in English
Lorraine Campanelli, Director of Cabrini Immigrant Services and a teacher by trade, put the program together with the help of trained storyteller, Deborah Mosley and several enthusiastic and gifted volunteers: Social Worker and Grant Writer, Paulette Sansone, Ph.D.; Teacher and Author, Marie Amoruso, Ph.D.; and, Certified Art Teacher, Ellen Tessitore. Funding for the program was made possible by a grant from Cabrini Mission Foundation.
Lorraine Campanelli was beaming with pride as she spoke of the success of the program: “The students worked so hard over the last 10 months. In the beginning, they would just sit quietly and listen to our storyteller who had selected books that shared the themes of instilling good morals and empowerment. Now, they are the storytellers themselves. Today, they not only told a story in English but they were very animated and put their heart and soul into their stories.” As a result of the program, students formed a lot of friendships and gained confidence not only in their English but also in themselves and are now reading in English at home with their children.
Patricia Krasnausky, President and CEO of Cabrini of Westchester, ended the program on a high note when she announced that we have just received funding from a long-time friend of the Missionary Sisters that will enable the program to continue. The students burst into applause and excitement filled the air with the news that their learning had not come to an end but, instead, is only just beginning.
Each of the students received a diploma stating they successfully completed the program. Following the ceremony, everyone indulged in a beautiful buffet luncheon consisting of homemade food from each of the student’s native country which they had prepared to thank the Cabrini staff and board members present for improving their lives through the programs and services of Cabrini Immigrant Services.