As refugee populations across the Front Range continue to grow, so does the Global Refugee Center. With 2,500 yearly hours of ESL, literacy, citizenship and other instruction offered annually, the GRC currently enrolls 130 students.
The Global Refugee Center, based in Greeley, serves Northern Colorado by building bridges between refugee and immigrant communities and the broader community. It was founded by Ethiopian community leader Asad Abdi in 2008 as the 'East African Community Center.' Abdi and four refugee community members founded the center to assist in mediating misunderstandings and disputes between recently arrived refugees and Greeley citizens. After expanding its mission in 2011, the GRC now offers classes in literacy, citizenship, wellness, school readiness, driving, speech and articulation, and ESL.
A majority of the teachers are volunteers. "Fall is a great time to volunteer," says Collette West, Director of Services, adding, "we always need teachers to come in." That's due to many volunteers going back to their day job of teaching in local K-12 schools during the school year.
"A lot of our [students] will want to give back, because we have taught them to speak English and read and write." When a student returns as a volunteer teacher, "it means that I've done something right and I've contributed to the Greeley area and the people here who need help," West says.
If you'd like to volunteer at the Global Refugee center, click here for more information. For other ways to help, click here. *Editor's Note 09/08/15: The number of hours of instruction was published inaccurately, it has been updated.