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College Mag. article (1470wds) (1 Viewer)

orpheus

Senior Member
Let me know what the articles strengths and weaknesses are. Thanks


Title: "Shining to Citizenship."



Patricia Juarez’s eyes wander as she searches for the right words.

“I am male.”

Sitting patiently across from her is Carmen Cabrera with a smile gleaming across her face.

“No, you are female.”

“I am female,” says Patricia, laughing softly.

“What are the three branches of our government?”

Patricia knows the answer but her Salvadorian tongue struggles to uproot the “g” in legislative.

“Le-he-lative.”

“Listen to me.“ Carmen slowly drawls out the word, giving special emphasis to the “g”. Patricia watches Carmen’s mouth move and then tries again.

The elusive “g” awakens.

“Le-ji-sla-tiv.”

For many college students, Saturday is a critical day of the week for catching up on shut-eye. But Carmen, a CSUN junior studying health administration, wakes up early to be at the Van Nuys Community Adult School by 8:30 a.m. She is student coordinator and volunteer for Project SHINE (Students Helping In the Naturalization of Elders).

SHINE is an intergenerational service-learning program offered at 19
higher-education institutions in 14 cities across the United States. It is one of several programs being offered by CSUN's Center for Community-Service Learning to students who want to learn real-world skills that overlap with their studies while providing an invaluable service to the community.

SHINE materialized in 1997, shortly after former President Bill Clinton signed the landmark welfare reform bill “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” into law. Part of the law tightened eligibility restrictions of 8.5 million legal immigrants and refugees to receive public benefits.

The PRWORA has been in hiatus since its failure to renew in 2002, but its legacy threatens legal aftershocks so that naturalization is the only sure-footed means to housing, healthcare, food stamps, income and other basic needs.

SHINE was in many ways Superman to the rescue. Faster than a speeding bullet, SHINE branched out from universities across the U.S. and coordinated with schools, Adult Care facilities, libraries and community centers to provide immigrants and refugees with the language and civic skills necessary to become U.S. citizens, according to Merry Whitelock, director of CSUN’s Project SHINE.

Volunteers can become one-on-one coaches to students in ESL and citizenship classes and may even help devise lesson plans. Other volunteers choose the MetLife aspect of SHINE, which focuses on health education.

“Students involved in the MetLife aspect of the SHINE program are working in groups and are responsible for meeting with the community sites to determine the needs of those served,” says Whitelock. “Once the needs are determined, they plan 1-2 hour health-literacy lectures based on the lesson plans provided by MetLife and they deliver the lessons to groups of elders (15-30) at the community site.”

Carmen is staying beyond the two and a half hours she is required to be at the adult school this Saturday to help Patricia and Roberto Dominguez, an elderly Mexico City native. Both have been struggling in class. Carmen turns to Dominguez to ask who authored the famous phrase “Give me liberty or give me death.” It is one of one hundred questions, ranging from civics, to history, to government, they’re being drilled on in preparation for their upcoming citizenship exam.

Roberto rubs the billowy skin beneath his eyes and then answers.

“Washington.”

In perhaps a moment of competitive zeal, Patricia corrects him.

“Patrick Henry,” she says, smiling at her quick response.

One has only to observe the tenacity by which students stick with their lessons to see how much they desire liberty and other rights that are part and parcel to the American Dream.

Carmen‘s parents were among them. She says that is part of the reason she volunteers. When she was seven she went over the same questions with her mother.

“My mother and I would study after dinner, while cleaning the kitchen, so I would ask the question in English and she would answer them,” Carmen says. “We would also study before dinner and while making dinner. Its sounds kind of weird, but my mother could multi-task.”

Ana Cubias, a junior journalism major, says she joined SHINE because she knows how difficult it is to be in a country with only a smattering of the language. She came to the U.S. with her family from El Salvador in 2002.

“I wanted to help (the students) because most of them are Latinos like me,” she says. “I feel the frustration that they’re going through: feeling mute . . . feeling like people can’t understand them.”

Ana knew virtually no English when she signed up for a year of accelerated ESL classes in 2003. She persevered through a language marathon that took her straight to Ventura college the following year and finally to CSUN in the fall of 2005.

“It was frustrating. I had to learn English and the (class) subjects. It’s hard . . . you have to get used to
it and the new way you’re getting your information. The adaptation process was long. Now I’m starting to feel like everything is fitting in place.”

Ana works one-on-one with learners in ESL classes. She says students want to learn English to enable them to complete tasks, ranging from going to the store and reading signs to understanding contracts and buying a house.

“Also, sometimes they want to learn English because they had grandchildren born here who only speak English and they want that connection with their grandkids,” she said. “It’s been a good experience to help my community. The community is growing and needs to be integrated into our society and not be left out.”

Experience is key to a balanced education so SHINE is offered as class credit to many students.

“If I have to work in a community, such as a health community program, this is the kind of population I’m going to be dealing with so this is perfect for me,” says Christopher Lopez, a senior health education major at CSUN.

Lopez has been in SHINE for three weeks and is almost finished with the hours needed to earn credit for his class, but he says he might return to the Van Nuys Adult School to help out after his class ends.

“To a student who’s considering signing up, if you can come and do it (SHINE) for yourself I recommend
it because it makes you feel better about yourself. You can tell your family what you’ve done to help people.”

Lopez didn’t expect to work with so many students when he signed up for SHINE, but he says seeing a larger group of students has made his experience richer.

This Saturday, the ESL class in Van Nuys has swelled to about 75 students. Students of various nationalities, the vast majority Latino, and ages fill row after ascending row of seats.

Instructing the class are Ross Gordon and Gregory Dobie. Students respond warmly to Gordon, whose recipe for instruction is a conversational voice, a bilingual prowess and an energy that would keep even the most sleep-deprived student wide awake.

“How long do we elect a President?” asks Gordon, culling a question straight from the citizenship exam.

“Four years.”

“Who is Martin Luther King Junior?”

“Civil rights leader.”

Waves of voices continue to follow every question until Gordon asks a pointed one.

“You have a hundred questions to prepare for. How many will you get?”

A man‘s baritone voice yells “We don’t know!”

“Yes!” retorts Gordon. “It’s just like Las Vegas!”

Dobie and Gordon are without volunteers for most of the year, so a typical class operates under a ratio of thirty-eight learners to one instructor.

“We’re dealing with a complicated process,” says Gordon. “There is a lot of paperwork and so the volunteers are very essential to provide the help . . . I always hate semester breaks because I know we’re not going to have (the volunteers).”

Gordon says that during semester breaks, learners are less satisfied with the class because they are unable to receive the one-on-one help that volunteers provide.

In addition to experience and earning the class credit, Gordon says a lot of learners benefit in other ways.

“Volunteers have told us that they have ended up learning a lot about the history of the U.S. and the government of the U.S. that they didn’t know before. And that mirrors what has been observed all along with the citizenship process, that a lot of people that end up going through the program end up knowing things the average citizen doesn’t know.”

Hazel Arrieta emigrated to the U.S from Nicaragua 24 years ago. She recently passed the citizenship exam and will be taking her oath on April 14, 2006. She said she is grateful to the CSUN volunteers. When asked how she feels to be a U.S. citizen she first responded with a chuckle.

“First I had a green card. Now I am an American citizen. Let’s see how it works.”
 
Last edited:

mammamaia

Senior Member
you'll need to separate your piece with line breaks wherever you had indents, before most of us will read it, orph... it's blinding to tackle one big block like that... indents don't work in posts, so you have to do the breaks 'by hand' with an edit, sorry to say...

the title made no sense, till i scanned a bit and saw 'SHINE' lower down... you should type the word that way in the title, if you don't want others to think it was a silly title... like this, perhaps: 'SHINE-ing to Citizenship'...

will try to give you some feedback after you reformat...

love and hugs, maia
 

orpheus

Senior Member
mammamaia said:
you'll need to separate your piece with line breaks wherever you had indents, before most of us will read it, orph... it's blinding to tackle one big block like that... indents don't work in posts, so you have to do the breaks 'by hand' with an edit, sorry to say...

the title made no sense, till i scanned a bit and saw 'SHINE' lower down... you should type the word that way in the title, if you don't want others to think it was a silly title... like this, perhaps: 'SHINE-ing to Citizenship'...

will try to give you some feedback after you reformat...

love and hugs, maia


I tried to indent manually but it doesn't seem to want to cooperate. Hope it's readable this time around.
 

CZ

Senior Member
Nice job, Orpheus.

Small nit-pick:

orpheus said:
Hazel Arrieta emigrated to the U.S from Nicaragua 24 years ago. She recently passed the citizenship exam and will be taking her oath on April 14, 2006. She said she is grateful to the CSUN volunteers. When asked how she feels to be a U.S. citizen she first responded with a chuckle.

First I had a green card. Now I am an American citizen. Let’s see how it works.”

I'd take out the initial "first" because it's unnecessary and clashes with the quote.

I'm assuming you're with the Daily Sundial? Golden Gate [X]press here (SFSU), it's nice to see a fellow student journalist on the boards. Cheers.
 

orpheus

Senior Member
CZ said:
Nice job, Orpheus.

Small nit-pick:



I'd take out the initial "first" because it's unnecessary and clashes with the quote.

I'm assuming you're with the Daily Sundial? Golden Gate [X]press here (SFSU), it's nice to see a fellow student journalist on the boards. Cheers.


ahhh the subtleties of good editors ;-)
I haven't written for the Sundial (next semester). This piece is for CSUN's Scene magazine. Nice to see a fellow journalism student as well.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
as i said, indenting doesn't work in posts, whether you do it manually or not... so line breaks must be used instead...

i think the piece is pretty well-written, with a nice balance of 'action' and narrative... we're given flashes of the program's targets and their enthusiasm for the process... and the explanations are not overdone... no 'infodump' feel to them...

i do have to agree that 'first' at the end should go... both of them, actually... it reads better without either of them... but, if the second/last is what the woman actually said, leave it in and delete just the one in the previous sentence...
 
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