Egle Rosales knew that she had to do something. She constantly worried about her two children falling behind in school and she could not sit by and let them fail.
First there was Kevin, then in fifth grade. “My son was doing very badly in school,” Egle recalled. “He wasn’t paying attention and the teacher was always complaining about him because he talks too much.”
Samantha, then just starting out in kindergarten, would also falter in school, Egle feared. She and her husband, Miguel, knew that the problem did not begin and end with the children or their schools. “I was at home doing nothing,” she said.
Egle, now 32, who came to this country in 1999 from Guatemala, had nowhere to turn until she learned about the Full Service Community Schools Program in which Dorcas Place Adult and Family Learning center partners with the Providence School Department and other organizations. The program is designed to help elementary school pupils and their families cope with educational demands. The two-generational approach helps children and their parents to better understand the system. Parents improve their own literacy and learn to read to their kids, among numerous other skills.
"Two years ago I started family literacy at Dorcas Place,” she said. Her own English language skills, Egle knew, were not sufficient for her to help Kevin and Samantha with their school work. “I needed to be in English classes when the children were in school. She began to understand that Dorcas Place could help her to help them.
Today, Egle Rosales looks back at her experience with the program to date and smiles. “My son’s now in middle school and doing much better,” she said. “Before I started in the program he was complaining every day. And every day it seemed the teacher was calling me to say he had problems. I had to find a way to help him.”
Besides improving her language skills, the Dorcas Place program taught Egle basic information about how American schools operate, and what’s expected of parents. Before enrolling, for example, Egle did not know at what grade elementary school ended and middle school began. “Now I am more into it, and I know how to help my children,” she said.
Where once she could not help her children to read, now Egle reads to them and can help them to read critically and to question what they read. “At Dorcas Place they showed me how to read a book, how to ask questions,” she said.
Asked to name the most important thing she’s learned in the program, Egle did not hesitate. “The program taught me that I need to be involved. That’s the most important thing I learned.” Today she’s a PTO member. “Before Dorcas Place I did not go to meetings, I did not know the teachers,” Egle said.
As she spoke, Egle’s wide smile said as much as her words.