New immigrant literacy program celebrates tenth anniversary

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News release from IPFW:

New Immigrant Literacy Program Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

(April 10, 2013) – In 2003, a Burmese immigrant in Fort Wayne founded the New Immigrant Literacy Program (NILP); running it out of a makeshift classroom in the Centlivre Village apartments with the assistance of his wife and two volunteers from the American Red Cross. They served about 15 children with the goal of getting these preschoolers and
kindergartners ready for American schools.

Ten years later, that immigrant, Kyaw “Joe” Soe, is the director of NILP, which is now hosted by the School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). It has between 25 and 30 students, ranging from preschool to sixth grade. There are an equal number of volunteers, many of whom are education majors at IPFW.

To help celebrate NILP’s anniversary, the public is invited to attend and observe the tutoring sessions, Saturday, April 20, at 11 a.m. in Neff Hall, followed by a news conference at 11:30 a.m. in the lobby of Neff Hall. IPFW Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs George McClellan, Professor and chair of Educational Studies Joe Nichols, and Soe will
speak at the news conference.

Soe says that over the years more than 1,000 immigrant children have been tutored in the program, most of them from Burma but also from Thailand, the Congo, Samaria, Latin America, the Sudan, and China.

NILP has also hosted many workshops for immigrant parents that teach them about the American education system, health education, and safety at home and in school. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Police Chief Rusty York have both spoken at program events.

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