Caroline House Honors Fairfield University
On Friday, April 1st Bridgeport-based literacy education center, Caroline House, will honor Fairfield University for its contributions to Caroline House’s mission to enable women and children to reach the fullness of their potential through education in English language and life skills.
For over 20 years, under the leadership and inspiration of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Caroline House has been committed to serving immigrant families in the Bridgeport area who come from many different countries but share similar challenges. English as a Second Language, life skills and citizenship classes are provided to women in a safe and peaceful haven, where they learn how to adapt to a new culture while becoming empowered with knowledge, communication and literacy skills in order to acquire employment, help their children in school and become contributing members of their communities. Special workshops on financial management, parenting, health and nutrition, domestic violence and safety issues are also offered.
Caroline House, located in a vibrant yellow building on Stillman Street in Bridgeport’s East Side, also provides young children a nurturing and warm preschool environment while their mothers attend classes. English language skills and beginning reading and writing activities help to create a solid foundation for future learning. Breakfast, snacks and hot lunch are provided. School age children benefit from after-school, one-on-one tutoring.
Jenna Massaro ‘16 is one of Fairfield University’s Caroline House student volunteers who assists staff by working with children on reading, computer work and arts and crafts. Massaro began volunteering at the Caroline House three years ago after joining the Collegiate Health Service Corps here at Fairfield. “Watching these children prosper linguistically and educationally, while being involved in their development, has been a rewarding experience. As much as I hope that I have left a positive impression on these children, they have left an even larger impact on me.” Massaro said that through playing and working with the children she has become a more patient and understanding individual as well as an effective communicator. “My experience at Caroline House has been invaluable, providing me with both skills and memories that will last a lifetime.”
Over the past decade, Fairfield University and Caroline House have been partners through fundraising and the efforts of student volunteers working with pre-school age children on literacy and numeracy skills and faculty and staff volunteers, including Sr. Julianna Poole, also a School Sister of Notre Dame, and GSEAP’s Dr. Anne Campbell, who have conducted workshops on English as a Second Language (ESL). Students from Fairfield’s Dolan School of Business will be volunteering at Caroline House next week during their Week of Service.
Wylie Smith Blake of Campus Ministry, referred to Fairfield’s long standing and fruitful relationship with Caroline House. “Caroline House teacher Jean Fredericks has been a blessing for students. Jean is nurturing to the pre-schoolers as well as our burgeoning education, psych and nursing majors and those who just enjoy working with young children. She sets high standards for our students and our students happily meet them while offering support to the children.”
Rev. Charles Allen, S.J., was a member of the Caroline House Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2013 after becoming involved with the organization’s fundraising efforts. “What stands out in my mind after those six years on the Board is the stabilizing and inspiring guidance provided by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. This group of nuns, with so much experience in managing schools, provided a wealth of expertise and dedication to the efforts of Caroline House.”
Fr. Allen remembered the children who had the opportunity of being part of a well-run daycare center, while their mothers were learning English. “Small children are always a source of joy and hope. So it was at Caroline House.”
Though Fr. Allen has been off the Board for two years, he is still involved with Caroline House and “still deeply moved by the work being done by the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the many volunteers who work so generously with them to educate immigrant women in the English language.”
Caroline House, Starry Night Gala 2016
The Inn at Longshore, Westport, Connecticut
Click here for tickets.