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International News | October 17, 2019

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Cooking With Kindness: ESL Academy Students Reach Out to Denver Homeless Shelter

Cooking With Kindness: ESL Academy Students Reach Out to Denver Homeless Shelter

When international students enter CU Denver’s ESL Academy, they enter more than an English language immersion classroom—students also delve into a curriculum  designed to deepen their understanding and appreciation of life in the United States and in Colorado communities. Topics range from American history and the importance of holidays such as American Independence Day to university preparation for success at CU Denver to learning how to help in your local community. As students in English language specialist Christine Blake’s class researched the causes and solutions for homelessness in America, they decided they wanted to be part of the solution.

The students, whose homes are as far away as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Viet Nam investigated local homeless shelters in need of assistance. With Blake’s help, they arranged to prepare and serve international cuisine to residents of Sacred Heart House in Denver. The shelter houses single mothers and children in hopes of finding them permanent housing and employment.

Students planned and prepared homemade dishes based on their own family recipes. As CU Denver students, they also felt it was important to encourage the children’s literary development and organized a children’s book drive to collect books for the shelter’s library. The students were given a tour of the facilities, where they learned more about the shelter’s ongoing needs; future service projects are being planned.

At the the end of a delicious dinner and the evening’s activities, student Hussin Alshawaf summed up the international students’ group experience, “We have all been blessed tonight.”

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Academy at the University of Colorado Denver provides a world of academic, cultural, and career opportunities. This ESL Academy prepares students in not only English language fluency, it also supports their complete success as a University of Colorado Denver student. The curriulum and approach are rigorous; full-time students are in classes three to five hours a day with follow-up homework. Students are prepared to enter degree programs in all 13 schools and colleges of the Univeristy of Colorado Denver.

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