Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series called “Faith in the Summer,” sharing information and photos about faith activities under way during the summer months.
EDMOND — A summer school of sorts is in session at a mobile home community that has been embraced by a local Baptist church.
Billy Fuller, collegiate and young professionals minister at First Baptist Church of Edmond, said the congregation began reaching out to the residents of Oak Ridge Estates several months ago.
He said the church has held several activities including a work day in which men in the church helped beautify the mobile home community at 601 S Vista Lane.
When church members talked to some of the Hispanic residents of the community, they learned there was a need for classes in English as a second language, Fuller said.
Fuller said church member Anita Smith was the first person to bring the idea of such classes to his attention, and they agreed to offer the free educational sessions on Tuesday evenings.
“God just kept bringing the idea to me, and I knew we had some people who are experienced English as a second language teachers,” Smith said.
Fuller said the Oak Ridge Estates management graciously offered the use of their office, and the one-hour classes began there in June. He said the classes have drawn up to 11 adults thus far.
Church members Smith, Linda Dorman and Kay Fryer teach the classes of mostly Hispanic woman. Fryer teaches a basic ESL class, with a recent session focusing on the registration forms the adult students will be required to fill out to enroll their children in school.
Dorman teaches a class for women who know how to speak English fairly well, but who want to work on the finer nuances of English grammar.
Dorman, a retired psychiatric nurse, said she knew she wanted to be involved in the summer school outreach as soon as Smith mentioned the idea.
She said she teaches a workshop on how to teach English as a second language.
“It was a no-brainer. I just said I need to do this,” Dorman said.
Helping adults and kids
Margarita Villagran, one of Dorman’s students at Oak Ridge Estates, said the sessions have been beneficial.
“It’s wonderful because it helps me speak more English. It’s helping the kids for school,” she said. “It’s the best.”
Fuller said he and other volunteers decided to offer reading skills activities for the children of the women taking the English classes. He said Half Price Books donated books for the sessions, and the children will be given books to take home at the end of the summer outreach.
On a recent Tuesday, Fuller had the children parade around outside while listening for words that rhyme. Later, the volunteers divided the children into groups and had the children read short stories aloud.
Dorman said the outreach possibly could be expanded beyond its planned 10-week run, especially because the students seem so thankful for the learning sessions.
“I find they are extremely grateful for the opportunity,” she said.
See related video at NewsOK.com.