The Northeastern Center acculturation classes continue to unfold in Noble County.

I met with a group of thirty Hispanic adult literacy students at Ligonier Elementary to conduct the acculturation class. LEAP, Inc. and NEC have partnered in this endeavor and we are seeing some exciting things come about from this partnership. Below is a short description of last evening's class.

I was at LEAP English classes last evening for the acculturation class. We combined both classes because of the class activity scheduled for the evening.

We played the acculturation game. Participants toss a ball that has questions related to their migration experience. This allows them to vent feelings and stories regarding migration travel, new life in North America, asks what things they would like to accomplish in ten years, etc.. Participants liked the activity so this was good.

Some of the comments students made regarding their migration experience were:

"When I crossed the border I was pregnant. The person who brought me over didn't know I was pregnant and he made me run. When we reached the other side I told him I was pregnant. He felt bad."

"I thought when I would cross over I would feel something magical, but I didn't really feel anything. I crossed and didn't get stopped by the immigration."

"I came to this country on a tourist visa and never returned."

"I have some North American friends who have helped me, my wife, and my children adjust to this culture."

It was exciting to hear their stories and know that their experiences are being told. The BIENVENIDO acculturation classes are for recent Hispanic immigrants.

It provides them an opportunity to vent their experiences related to their migration to North America. Also, participants are presented mental health related topics to help strengthen healthy lives and communities. Classes are conducted in Spanish utilizing student manual titled, "Bienvenido, El Proceso de Adaptación, Su Nueva Vida en Norteamérica," authored by Gilberto. NEC plans to publish the manual in 2004 and make it available to individuals and community agencies interested in working with recent immigrants in their community.

Gilberto Pérez, ACSW / Team Leader • Northeastern Center, Inc./ Ligonier, IN