Spanish Club reaches out to community
On December 12, Lauralton Spanish Club members traveled to Caroline House in Bridgeport to reach out to the Hispanic community in our area and give toys to their 29 preschoolers. Olivia Parise, ’14 and her mother volunteer in the summer at Caroline House. Olivia tutors older children and when asked to share a special memory she spoke about working with a young boy who was extremely smart, reading two grade levels above his own. He told her that because she helped him and gave him the opportunity to learn, he wanted to do the same and become a tutor. Olivia approached fellow Spanish Club members with the idea of helping the mothers by providing Christmas gifts for the children at Caroline House, and there was a unanimous vote of “YES.” Small toys were purchased and delivered by several Spanish Club members, along with Spanish teachers Señora Maiese, Señor Franco and Señora Doerr. Upon their arrival, the students and teachers were greeted by the Caroline House Development Director, Christine Matthews Paine, an alumna of Lauralton. Kiley Cappetta, ’13 donned a Santa suit and along with Caitlin Nevins, ’13, acting as “Jingles”, the elf, gave the very excited children the opportunity to meet and talk with St. Nick. Kiley was impressed by the nurturing community atmosphere of Caroline House that enables the empowerment of Hispanic women and at the same time offers a preschool where the children can learn English. Caitlin was “very impressed with the incredible friendliness of the mothers and children at Caroline House. Even though the kids were a little scared at first, they were adorable! It seems like an incredible place.”
Caroline House, an education center for immigrant women and children, was founded in 1995 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in response to a direct need. The center welcomes all women without regard to race, religion or ethnic background. The Caroline House mission is to provide tuition-free opportunities to develop the whole person through education and support services. English as a Second Language and basic computer and life skills are taught, and Caroline House helps women adjust to life in a new culture and become confident and contributing members of their families and communities. Classes are held four days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and special workshops are provided on topics such as financial management, parenting, health and nutrition, domestic violence concerns and safety issues.