Catherine McAuley Center looking for more English tutors to help with Afghan refugees

Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 11:18 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Catherine McAuley Center has been working with Afghan-refugees who fled their country for Cedar Rapids.

250-refugees moved into the city but were now on a waiting list to learn English and other critical skills.

“The third of our people that come here are not literate,” said Anne Dugger, the Director of Education Services for The Catherine McAuley Center. “They can’t go to school because of war or jobs.”

One of the partners the center works with is Raining Rose. The company offers the tutoring program to any of its employees that want to better their English.

“We have over 20 different languages spoken in operations,” said Brenda Meeker, the Training and Development Specialist for Raining Rose. “We know that we wanted to get some help and how we can best support our employees and continue to provide them with that warm environment.”

While they continue to work on teaching English to as many refugees and immigrants as possible, they needed more. The 250 that arrived were the most the center had seen since the program started helping refugees in 2018.

“The need for volunteers has always been there,” she said. “We have 200 students, and the other 250 were Afghan-students waiting.”

Getting more tutors to welcome these new Iowans and set them up for success is something Meeker has seen the impacts of firsthand.

“I’m personally one of the tutors,” she said. “I get the chance to learn a little bit about their country and their language as well as trying to understand empathy, and that helps them.”

Those interested in signing up to volunteer can head to the Catherine McAuley Center website.

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