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Published on May 7th, 2014 | by editor


Wright College and Christopher House: Building Opportunity Together

Rosa Correa (left), Wright College student at Christopher House with Alicia Villagomez (right), Adult Literacy Manager at Christopher House and 2002 Wright College graduate

Rosa Correa (left), Wright College student at Christopher House with Alicia Villagomez (right), Christopher House Adult Literacy Manager and 2002 Wright College graduate

For nearly a decade, Rosa Correa talked about returning to school. Now, inspired to set a positive example for her daughters, she’s doing something about it.

Rosa learned about an opportunity to take free GED preparation classes at Christopher House in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood through an off-site partnership with Wright College. She jumped at the chance and is currently enrolled in a GED preparation class, which meets twice a week.

“Finishing my high school diploma is something I want to prove to them that I can do,” Rosa said of her daughters, who are ten and three years old. “My goal is to find a better job and a lot of these jobs require at least a high school diploma or equivalent.”

Christopher House is one of 70 City Colleges Adult Education partners providing access to City Colleges’ free Adult Education classes  in high-need neighborhoods across Chicago.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, more than one-third of the Belmont-Cragin community (2010 population: 78,743) has less than a high school diploma and 43 percent “speak English less than very well.”

Christopher House and other community organizations help ease adult learners’ transitions back to the classroom. Christopher House opened a new school and family resource center in Belmont-Cragin in 2013; since opening its new location in Belmont-Cragin, Christopher House and its Adult Education partnership with Wright College has flourished.  Alicia Villagomez, Christopher House’s Adult Literacy Manager and Wright College graduate, recruits students for the classes and connects families with additional tutoring and support services provided at the center.

After realizing the opportunities and convenience the program offered, Rosa encouraged her husband Salvador to enroll in an English as a Second Language (ESL) course. “I told my husband, ‘If I’m doing something, let’s make you do something, too, to show our daughters,’” Rosa said. “My 10-year-old tells him, ‘Dad don’t give up’… we are all working together.”

For Rosa and Salvador Correa and their family, bettering their education and career opportunities is now a family affair.

For more information about the Wright College Adult Education programs, including free GED and ESL classes, please call 773.481.8821.

This article originally appeared in Wright College’s community publication, Wright News. Click here for the current issue.


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