Jonesboro Rotary Club helps Hispanic children learn

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Children who don't come from English speaking homes struggle with their school work.  Almost every subject requires a student to read and if they aren't fluent in English, learning can be difficult.

"If something is fun for the children they enjoy it," said Jennifer Brizo.

Jennifer Brizo works with 15 children every afternoon at the Hispanic Center in Jonesboro. 

"Since they're Hispanic kids they have trouble with the English language so they have a lot of trouble with reading and understanding," said Brizo.

A new computer helps make learning easier.

"If there were kids out there that were really struggling with English then they could still learn," said Assistant Director at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library David Eckert.  They have two of the computers at the library, but not a lot of Hispanic users.  He said they wondered how to reach the Hispanic community.

"We thought if we could get another one and put it here in the Hispanic Center then in essence we would come to them," said Eckert.

Unsure if the library could afford another computer, Eckert said they asked the Rotary Club to step in and help.

"Rotary Clubs do a variety of fundraising throughout the community and then give back to the community because literacy is one of our primary goals," said University Rotary Club President Joe Stallings.

Stallings said the club paid for the $2,400 computer and were glad to do it.

"Most Hispanic families don't have the opportunity that the Rotary Club or the library is giving to us," said Brizo.

Brizo said children started the school year back in August struggling but after a month the "Early Literacy Station" is making a difference in the education of students.

"Ever since they started using the computer they comprehend better.  I think it's something fun for them, they enjoy reading now.  They enjoy writing," said Brizo.

While the computers are targeted to children, parents can use them too.  In many cases parents will learn from their children when their child shows them something on the computer.

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