For the past two years Leesa Hoyt Kraeger has been a family literacy specialist in Arnold Elementary School’s Family Literacy Program. She can be reached at 402-436-1120 or at email@example.com.
How do you help refugees?
As family literacy specialist, I coordinate an integrated program that teaches English, provides information about Lincoln Public Schools and the community of Lincoln, and encourages families to become an integrated part of the school and surrounding neighborhood. Primarily, I assist immigrant and refugee families with advocating for and acquiring what they need to be able to help their children set and achieve educational goals. I also collaborate with the Arnold Community Learning Center site supervisor to provide programing and information that is available to all Arnold Elementary families.
What is the most common question you get from refugees? (And how do you answer it?)
Most of the questions I get asked have to do with where to go to get information or services. Sometimes I know, but frequently my answer starts with “I don’t know, but let’s ask …”
What is the most difficult part of your work?
Funding is the biggest challenge. Long-term sustainability cannot be achieved with grants.
What does the wider community of Lincoln need to know about refugees?
I think people simply need to remember that regardless of culture or country, people want to be safe and to be treated with respect. The hopes and dreams you have for your children are the same ones they have for theirs.
What does the refugee community need to know about Lincoln?
Lincoln has many opportunities for refugee families and many people willing to help.
If you offer refugees new to Lincoln only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Ask for what you need, be it translation, transportation, education or assistance. The answer may be no, but you will seldom get what you never ask for!