At the start of the year the Indianapolis Public Schools English
as a Second Language (ESL) Department introduced new initiatives for our
growing population of immigrant families. They recently closed out a four-week
series working closely with AmeriCorps VISTA member Julia Babis to identify the
needs of the refugee families. During the series a variety of needs were
acknowledged and addressed, such as job placement and child care.

However, IPS found our work was just beginning once the
series closed. Many families identified additional support that would help them
adjust to their new communities, and we stepped up to assist.

Babis and ESL Coordinator Jessica Feeser have been working
diligently to determine what our immigrant families will need and have found
that food pantries, city bus routes and computer training were all common
elements.

“To address those additional needs we’re establishing ESL
classes and partnering with community leaders to offer them,” said Feeser.  “A recent partnership with the Indianapolis
Public Library has given us the opportunity to offer computer-training classes
to our families, starting in mid-September.  Tapping into resources within the community
has truly been helpful.”

We’re proud to say that IPS will continue our journey to
assist all of the families in our growing immigrant population with more events
and resources as the school year progresses. For more information on available resources and services, please contact Jessica Feeser or Julia Babis.