In response to a request for enrichment programs for children by the Sudanese community, the Sudanese Education Fund developed the Saturday Bridges Program.This program started in the fall of 2010 and continues today. Each Saturday, we bring together Sudanese children and parents, local students, volunteers, and professionals from many different walks of life.
Our current program includes the following:
Pre-Literacy program for 2-4 year olds: This includes a story and sing a long time as well as arts and crafts. We use the gymnasium to exercise as well as the outdoor playground when the weather is pleasing. This program is run by two adults and 12 middle school volunteers. The middle -schoolers enjoy one on one time with their new Sudanese friends.
Literacy support for 5-7 year olds: This program is focused on literacy and social-emotional learning. The children practice cooperative learning, listening to instructions and many other skills as they practice a dance routine to be performed in front of their parents the last class of the semester. After the dance program they are offered an art class lead by artist Karen Dillon. Each Saturday the children read or are read to by the high school volunteers. The reading buddies enjoy each other and look forward to the next week of dance, art and reading. This group also enjoys the gymnasium and outdoors to run and play.
Tutoring for middle school and high school students: We use Massachusetts standards-based educational games to make our time at the Saturday program fun and enriching. The students cycle through four stations: Math, Literacy, Writing, and 1-on-1 tutoring. Their academic time is complemented with time to play outside or in the gym.
Parent Program: The parent program includes workshops on parenting skills and leadership. Newly arrived women engage in an ESL class suitable to their level, while women who have been here for some time receive tutoring in high school, college or GED subjects. Our tutors and teachers are trained and supervised to teach ESL by our ESL coordinator Andy Reyes who teaches ESL at Bunker Hill Community College. The parents also enjoy the social aspects of getting together while their children are engaged in our other programs.