Asbury Park, NJ – In the words of Isaiah (38: 12), DENA’s Evening ESL Program for young adult Latino immigrants “was suddenly struck down and borne away like a weaver cutting the last thread.”
Brother Thomas Browne, FSC, the volunteer directing the ESL Program, fell down a flight of stairs at the center on July 3, 2019 and broke his femur bone.
There was no volunteer available on the spot to assume the leadership of the program so it had to be shut down for the Fall 2019 Fall Semester.
Sixteen years ago, Brother Frank Byrne, FSC, Provincial of the legacy New York District, initiated a collaborative effort between the Brothers and the Pastor of the Catholic Church in Neptune, NJ, to provide evening English classes to young adult Latino immigrants.
Some years later, the evening ESL Program was moved into a brand new educational facility in the basement of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Asbury Park, NJ.
The program was staffed solely by volunteers and it provided various levels of English instruction four nights a week.
DENA provided financial support each year to supplement the modest tuition requested from the students. These funds enabled the program to obtain educational materials and provide a modest gift to the generous volunteers who served as teachers and instructors.
It is estimated that over the 16 year existence of the ESL Program more than 2,200 young people participated in the program.
Hopefully, new leadership will arise in the near future to resume this invaluable language program or initiate a similar one in some other area of the District.
-submitted by Brother Thomas Browne, FSC