CAP Services recently launched a new program focused on family and educational literacy for Hmong families in Portage County. Hmong UPLIFT (Unleashing Potential: Learning Involves Families Together) launched in January.
The program is free and there is no income limit for participants. Requirements for participation include having students in the Stevens Point School District with at least one child age 4-8. Parents must believe education is important their children’s lives and want to gain skills to advance in life.
“We want families and children to better understand the educational system and gain skills and techniques to be successful,” said Phong Vang, Hmong UPLIFT Program Coordinator, noting the program offers a chance for families to engage each other in a supportive environment focused on education to advance the family.
“Our ultimate goal is to increase education and increase wages,” Vang said. “English is the second language for many of these families and for parents it’s harder to get a higher paying job.” The program helps get parents connected to resources to pursue a GED, or technical or college education.
“For the kids, we want them to be at grade level, particularly in English and improve their engagement in school and afterschool activities,” Vang said. “One thing that we’re doing right now is incorporating both English and Hmong literacy.”
The UPLIFT group currently meets on Tuesday evenings at the YMCA in Stevens Point. The meetings generally include a guest speaker with an educational emphasis followed by supervised play time for the kids and instruction for parents. Parents and kids end the meetings by reading to each other from special bilingual Hmong/English books.
Nine families are currently enrolled. The program can accommodate up to 20 families. People interested in participating in the program – or volunteering or donating – can contact Vang for additional information at 715-343-7139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Major funding for the program comes from United Way of Portage County, an independently-governed nonprofit organization that brings people and resources together to achieve measurable results that improve people’s lives and strengthen our community.
CAP Services is a private, nonprofit community action agency that has been helping low-income people in Marquette, Outagamie, Portage, Waupaca and Waushara counties attain economic and emotional self-sufficiency since 1966.