Trivia Bee: Local non-profit needs your help to meet demand for adult English classes

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 5:25 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2022 at 9:55 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s probably not a question you answer every day, but think for a minute: How many times have you read a message or written a note today?

Reading and writing are things many people take for granted, but there’s a growing number of people in our area beginning to read and write in English as adults.

A Green Bay non-profit is looking to the community to help fund that increasing demand for education.

Several days a week in the basement of a Green Bay building, school is in session.

It’s not traditional, but the goal is the same no matter the students’ ages or backgrounds.

“I like the classes. I want to learn English,” says Mahamad Said.

He came to Green Bay nearly six years ago as a refugee from Somalia. When asked if he knew any English before attending classes, he told us, “No! None!”

But he’s learned enough already, he could do a TV interview -- a sign of how far he’s come.

The credit goes to Literacy Green Bay, a non-profit focused on helping non-native English speakers learn the language.

“From our perspective, there is a growing need,” says Literacy Green Bay Executive Director Robyn Hallet. “The phone never stops ringing. We never stop seeing new clients walk through the front doors requesting our services.”

Hallet says volunteer teachers and tutors help people from around the world -- so far 45 countries and counting -- learn how to not just communicate, but thrive.

It sounds basic, but it impacts all of us.

“It affects their families. It affects their employment,” says Hallet. “Maybe they can get a job, yes, but not advance in their employment, and the work that we do is all about helping the community to have a stronger workforce.”

We asked another student if it was difficult trying to communicate with people in the community before taking the classes. Aden Abdile tells us, “Sometimes, yeah, difficult, sometimes.”

You can see the accomplishment through the smiles on their faces, demonstrating how grateful they are to those who’ve helped them navigate a new community and culture.

“‘Cause (it) gave me the opportunity to learn English, develop myself,” student Maria Navarrete tells us.

Literacy Green Bay is also beginning to work with Afghan refugees settling in Northeast Wisconsin.

The more people being helped, the more the organization needs the community to step up with donations and funding.

“Our fundraisers support all of our programming,” explains Hallet.

February 24th, Literacy Green Bay is hosting a Trivia Bee, its biggest fundraiser of the year.

It’s virtual because of COVID, but Hallet says attendees last year enjoyed it.

It includes a silent auction and speeches from those whose lives have transformed inside Literacy Green Bay’s classrooms.

“It’s incredible, just so much fun to see so many variety of people coming through our doors,” adds Hallet.

The Trivia Bee starts at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, February 24th, but you need to register ahead of time to get the virtual log-in information.

Hallet describes the fast-paced game this way: “Three rounds. One is going to be on classic literature. One is going to be some of the questions that a new citizen would have when they go for their citizenship test, so that’s something a lot of our students experience and a lot of people in the general public don’t necessarily know the answers to, and then we’ll have one round about Literacy Green Bay.”

Click here for details or to sign up for the Trivia Bee or here to make a donation to Literacy Green Bay.

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