Haley Wiggins and Dr. Legrand Richards, Educational Leadership and Foundations
There is a great need in our community to unite different religious, ethnic and racial groups. In 2001 an “Alliance for Unity” was formed in Utah. Its Statement of Purpose and Mission Statement were read to LDS wards throughout the State. It reads “our Alliance for Unity will seek ways to bring people together for the benefit of all. We will encourage specific projects of common purpose. Our overriding goal is to help people cross boundaries of culture, religion and ethnicity to better understand and befriend one another”. Many including Elder M. Russell Ballard and Jon Huntsman signed this statement.
In order to promote this Alliance for Unity I participated in and/or designed a number of community activities aimed at bringing the Latin and non-Latin populations of Provo together. These activities opened many doors for me beyond what I had initially thought. I planned and carried out two activities, a salsa making activity and a parent night activity at Dixon Middle School. I also participated in and helped to plan various other activities including, a Study Circles session at Timpanogos Elementary School, the planning of a dual-immersion English/Spanish class, a literacy fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill and in creating opportunities to place interns in community ESL programs.
Salsa Making Activity and Training
For my first activity I trained 6 women from my Relief Society to facilitate a bilingual activity with the Communication for Community adult ESL class. The facilitators in turn led a “get to know you” and a “salsa making activity and contest” with the ward relief society sisters and adult Spanish speaking members of the ESL class. Each facilitator led a small group of both Spanish and English speakers in this completely bilingual activity. Overall I feel like this activity went very well. Comments from both the English-speaking relief society sisters and the Spanish-speaking class members were very positive. Each group ventured out of its comfort zone to be able to communicate in a second language.
Parent Night Activity
The original idea for the parent night activity was to invite the parents of the ESL students at Dixon Middle School and the parents of students in the Spanish classes at Dixon. Toni Tlatenchi, the ESL teacher at Dixon, and I planned the activity and we soon discovered that we first needed to have an activity with just the parents of our ESL students. We decided to let the students plan and carry out the activity with our supervision. The students did a wonderful job. They planned and carried out a parent night activity with nearly 100 people in attendance. Families brought food and artifacts from their native countries. The students announced the program in both English and Spanish. Each of the six ESL classes was assigned a different aspect of the program including decorations, setting-up, conducting, organizing the talent show, organizing the food, etc. It was a wonderful chance for parents to come and see the good work of their children. It was also a time for individuals to come together and celebrate their culture and heritage. People from at least six different countries were present.
Timpanogos Study Circles
Next I participated in a Study Circles session at Timpanogos Elementary. Dr. Joan Dixon organized this Study Circles session. In this session, seven groups of parents from Timpanogos Elementary met on a weekly basis to discuss community issues/problems facing their families, in particular, their children at the elementary school. My part in this study circle was that of facilitator for one of the Spanish -speaking groups. One of the major issues discussed was the reality of a lingually divided community. After four weeks of meetings in small groups all seven Spanish and English-speaking groups participated in a bilingual community meeting to discuss the action plans of each group. Participants were then asked to sign up for the action plans they would like to participate in. Activities continue for parents who signed up to be involved.
Dual Immersion-Communication for Community/Provo School District Adult ESL Class Over the summer of 2002 a dual-immersion class through the Provo School District Adult ESL Program was offered to students wanting to learn English and Spanish. I was involved in the initial planning for this class. (I was not able to participate in the class because of the SCALE Fellowship mentioned later). The Communication for Community ESL class combined with the Provo School District ESL program to offer one English and one Spanish beginning level class. Each class meets together three times a week, twice with their respective language class and once with the other language class where they can practice their second language with native speakers. As of 9/2002 this class is still in progress.
My involvement with ESL and with Dr. Joan Dixon led me to a literacy fellowship I participated in during June and July 2002 at UNC Chapel Hill. For two months I worked for SCALE-Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education. SCALE coordinates various campus-based literacy programs throughout the nation, it is the only organization of its kind. My main responsibility at SCALE was to write Reflection Guides for literacy organizations to use in tutor reflection sessions. The reflection guides were focused on diversity and tolerance, specifically tolerance of the Arab American community following September 11th. I will also be presenting one of these reflection guides at the SCALE conference in October 2002. One of my main objectives at SCALE was to bring back this type of program to BYU. This fall semester 2002 I will start as a TESOL intern to place volunteers from the TESOL minor programs in different community ESL classes and in Provo School District. This program will be affiliated with SCALE.
I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to be involved in these different programs and activities. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to receive this ORCA Scholarship. In conclusion I would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Joan Dixon and Dr. Legrand Richards for their help and support.