The challenge of not knowing English and being new to the American school system is familiar to Elize Jadimene. The 21-year-old Haitian-born former Boynton Beach High School student recalls his experience serving as translator and interpreter for his parents when they immigrated to the United States.
“My parents did not speak English. I remember at the age of six years old I was answering calls and translating for my parents. It was common in my eyes; my friends had the same responsibility,” said Jadimene.
Jadimene realized that this is an ongoing situation for immigrants. Jadimene now works as an outreach coordinator for the San Castle Community Center operated by Community Partners. The Center is in the Boynton Beach San Castle neighborhood, a vibrant multicultural community with a large population of Haitians and Hispanics.
“Some of my daily work at the community center consists of helping residents with job applications, resumes, homework assistance and applying for colleges. I saw that there is a need for these immigrants to get more education, learn English in order to better function in their community, get better paying jobs and serve their civic duties. Since there was no program around in the community school, I reached out to the County Commission for help,” Jadimene said.
Jadimene reached out to the Palm Beach County Vice-Mayor Mack Bernard who helped him connect with the School District’s Adult Education Director, Fred Barch, and Rolling Green Elementary Principal, Allyson Manning, to consider a new initiative to help these adults students learn English.
Through negotiations and planning, Rolling Green Elementary School now offers an adult education program offering English classes for both Creole and Spanish speaking adults. The program runs during the day and now serves about 45 students, most of them recruited by Jadimene throughout the community.
“We now have two teachers instructing two classes from Beginners Literacy 1 & 2 to Advanced Literacy 3 to 6. We partner with community organizations to teach them other skills like nutrition, parenting, etc. With the help of Jadimene, we are looking forward to recruit[ing] more students in order to open the night program,” says Cristina Veltri, the program coordinator.
The program started its first term on August 27, 2018. The next term will begin on January 22, 2019. Registration will start on January 2, 2019.
“I hope our current and future students take advantage of these courses to help excel them into becoming successful in their chosen fields,” says Jadimene.
“It was a pleasure for me to see how dedicated a young man can be to his community. Such involvement is paramount to community progress,” said Vice-mayor Bernard.
Rolling Green Elementary School is located on 550 Miner Road, Boynton Beach, Florida 33435.
For more information about the program call (561) 649-6004.