What we’ve been up to lately:
I volunteered for Camden Catholic’s ESL class last week. This was at the invitation of their lead teacher, a contact I met at the International family day back on June 19th. The families I met come from Burma, Iraq, and Afghanistan primarily. It was fun to see how all of these cultures had been building relationships with each other already. The CCC staff is firmly supportive that an evening ESL class is a great addition that we at Crossing the Gap are offering to the community. Typically, the refugee families receive only 3 months of introductory language classes upon first arrival, but drop out of those classes once they start working due to the hours of the classes.
Kay and I hit the streets of Collingswood for a new marketing campaign. We were able to put up fresh signs around town, meet potential students, and had a chance meeting with the Director of the Collingswood Library.
Coordinating our services with the County Library system is one of our future goals. They and one other non-profit in Camden County offer free ESL to immigrants. Their classes are provided by trained teachers and allow students to progress through levels. We are working on forming a stronger network between these two organizations, Catholic Charities’, and our own services. It may not sound complicated, but it’s been slow and unglamorous work to form this network. But I’m passionate about seeing quality services provided to the communities who need them, and we will keep pushing until the immigrants of Camden County can connect to their own community without the hindrances of childcare, transportation, and language barriers to hold them back.
What’s coming up
- Monday, July 10th is our first English as a Second Language class. We’re trying to get students to confirm in advance by text, and so far I have six confirmed students plus kids!
- Saturday, July 15th is Donation Day! If you haven’t gotten a flyer yet, email me for one or check out our Facebook post. Some of the main requests are bikes and bike helmets. Then new or gently used bedding and mattresses.
- Sunday, July 16th Representing at the Haddon Heights Farmers Market. Haven’t gotten your Crossing the Gap gummy armband yet? Come by and check us out!
Ways to Jump in
There’s always more advertising to do. If you have daytime availability on Mondays or Thursdays to join Alison on the campaign trail, get in touch! Or if you want to connect us with your local pastor, non-profit, or social services employee, just let us know! We have materials to share and would love to connect.
If you haven’t heard, we’re selling Tshirts as a means of raising support funds. You can check that out HERE.
Some other means of support including hiring Ali to do odd-jobs around the house or yard, or to send a donation to Fellowship Community Church in Collingswood with Crossing the Gap as the intended ministry of receipt. We are also seeking an experienced Grant Writer to join our team on a voluntary basis.
Want to get a little more info? Here’s a Volunteer Questionnaire where you can tell us your preferred contact method and any ways you might want to jump in with us!
Speaking of Volunteering…
- We could always use helpers! Our Monday classes run on a rotating schedule, so even if you’re available only once, or only on particular nights, that’s helpful! Volunteers do NOT need to have any teaching experience.
- Want to volunteer to teach during daytime hours? Camden Catholic Charities is looking for helpers too. Their classes are Mondays through Thursdays from 10am to 1pm.
- Don’t forget that Saturday, July 15th is the donation day. I only have three confirmed volunteers so far. Please get in touch with your availability and preferred assignment. The event runs from 10am to 3pm. I will need people from 8am until 6 or so at night, so if you can only do part of the day, it’s totally fine! Just email back with your availability.
- We’ll need:
- 1 Grill Masters (ie. Hot dog cookers) from 10-2
- 2 or more Muscle Heads (ie move stuff from one person’s car to another car) from 8 till 6 (pick a shift!)
- 1-2 Perfectionists (ie. Quality checkers for the donation items) from 10-3
- 1-2 Lackies (ie. Do anything else we might need help with) from 8-6
- We’ll need:
Thank you all for your ongoing prayers & support.