LSS Center for New Americans
Lindy Obach, ESL Instructor
We’re in the business of helping people.
Recently, The Center for New Americans has been able to provide resources, career coaching, and job skills classes to refugee student populations in Sioux Falls through a new program called RISE, which helps its participants in overcoming barriers to skilled employment or higher ed. CNA teachers and job development caseworkers have met with over 70 young people to further help them with career exploration, college tours, career pathways, and finding jobs. This has been a most rewarding experience!
One of the most rewarding experiences, though, has been offering a specific class, Career Pathways, at Lincoln High School. I was lucky to be chosen as the one to go to LHS once a week to have a hand in coaching and teaching these students.
At Lincoln, I met an eager, funny, and warm group of students who were game to go along with all the activities I had planned. I knew that the students who came to class were definitely motivated – after all, I was asking them to spend 2 more hours at school than they usually did on a Tuesday. I think the flaming hot Cheetos, granola bars, and fruit snacks LSS provided also sweetened the deal.
At any rate, I got to know these students really well and am invested in their bright futures. Young people, especially those of refugee backgrounds, need all the caring, supportive adults in their lives they can get.
In Career Pathways class, we studied a multitude of topics all relating to job skills and career exploration. We worked on hard and soft skills, professional communication, career maps, resumes and online job applications, and interviewing for a job. I shared my knowledge with them, and they shared their hearts with me. One memorable day, we were working on how to exude confidence, and three young African students stood up and sang in front of the class in their native languages. If that doesn’t shout “confidence” and “bravery,” I don’t know what does. On the last day of class, I handed out completion certificates to the students, and I could see them fill with pride. I know our future is in good hands.
Teaching this class at Lincoln was fantastic, and the CNA hopes to offer this to other area high school students in the near future as we continue to carry out our mission of caring for, supporting, and strengthening individuals, families, and communities. Thank you to the home liaisons, teachers, and staff at Lincoln High for helping make this awesome experience happen!