Special Breakfast to Support New Americans in YWCA Children’s Centers
A parents group meets every Friday morning at the YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center at Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning in Saint Paul. In February, the Children’s Center hosted a special support breakfast for the families they serve. This was in response to an inspired blog post from YWCA Minneapolis President and CEO, Luz María Frías, which talked about supporting our Muslim neighbors during the current political environment. Ninety percent of the children who attend the YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center at Hubbs are new Americans who came to this country less than two years ago; a substantial amount are refugees.
A Safe Place for All Families
Zaiboon Leifeld, YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center at Hubbs Director, was one of the employees who helped put together the breakfast event. “It is important to extend a welcoming, helping hand to all the families we serve. We want our families to know that we are in constant support of them and that YWCA Minneapolis is a safe place. ”
During the breakfast, Children’s Center staff talked to the parents group, which was comprised of all new Americans, and asked them about their experience at the YWCA Children’s Center.
Below are some of the parent’s responses:
“I want to learn more English. My children are learning how to read and write, so it helps me. They are also learning how to share and play with others. It’s hard for children to learn to share because they want to play with everything at one time.”
“I’m so excited that my children are learning a lot, and I’m learning a lot too. I’m so happy.”
“I see the switch; she’s starting to say her name a little bit, and she’s learning to spell. I hope we can continue to attend this Children’s Center.”
“My daughter has a lot of friends. And she learns a lot from her friends. They learn a lot from each other.”
“My daughter is happy here. She can speak English better than me. I learn from her.”
“I have several children and some of them didn’t attend this program before kindergarten and they are now struggling a bit in school. That’s why I enrolled my younger children here; it’s going to help them.”
“I recommend the Hubbs Center because I know my daughter is prepared for kindergarten. I’m very impressed when I see her write her own name and how she draws our family. I see her include all the special things to identify each person. I see all that she’s processing during her first year, and I want her to continue to attend.”
Progress for Children in Classrooms
Zaiboon told the parents, “I’m glad your children are attending our Center. Often Mignon (Assistant Director) and I will go into the classrooms and we are amazed at the children, their language and their vocabulary. When they first start, it’s kind of hard for them but they learn so fast.”
Mignon chimes in, “We have seen your children blossom from the day they walked into the Children’s Center. They interact with the other children and with their teachers. It’s just really cool.”