It's hard for us to believe that five years have gone by since a cold, rainy Valentine's Day when a group of volunteers opened Orangethorpe Learning Center to provide a safe and friendly place for the elementary school children of our neighborhood to get help with their homework.
Seven of us waited anxiously that day for crowds of kids to arrive looking for help. We were disappointed when only two children showed up -- Michelle and Cheryl Wong, whose grandmother had brought them in so we would be sure to have some students to practice with. But the next day, seven children came, including William and Jesse Solares and Jaime Baltazar, who are still attending OLC today. Kristina Iancului also started attending that day. She has gone on to Nicholas Junior High but still serves as an OLC volunteer nearly every day. It didn't take long for the families in our neighborhood to discover us and soon more than twenty children were attending each day.
We just had a party to celebrate our fifth birthday. It was another cold and rainy day, just like our first day. This time, though, more than forty children and quite a few parents were here to celebrate. We thank all the moms and grandmas who prepared refreshments for this happy occasion and who stayed to help us clean up.
We would like to recognize, and thank, St. Jude Medical Center's West Fullerton Resource Center for all the good work it does in our neighborhood. One of the very popular programs which St. Jude offers to our families is the regular "English as a Second Language" (ESL) classes at Orangethorpe Christian Church. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Beginner's Level from 9am to 10am and Intermediate Level 10am to 1pm.
We've heard that quite a few members of our OLC family are regular attendees at these classes, which are taught by Carmen Brías. Carmen was born and educated in Chile and has over 15 years experience teaching ESL classes. She currently works with adults and high school students only; and also does private tutoring. Besides the classes she teaches for WFRC, Carmen also works at the following sites: Laurel Elementary School (Brea), the Gary Center (La Habra), and Diamond Bar High School.
In the Spring, ESL classes will be offered on Wednesday as well. For more information, please call Cristina Martínez at 441-3180.
Recently, the following friends of OLC have donated computers, or components:
A big THANK YOU to everybody who is helping us provide better equipment for our children to use.
Two New OLC employees!
Since our last issue of Fun Times was published, we have hired two new Operations Assistants:
Both of these young women are recent graduates of Fullerton High School. Nancy works with our K-1 students and has impressed everybody with the love and patience she shows for these little ones. Karen has worked with different groups of students, but may soon be working exclusively with the 2nd graders. She is also in charge of checking out CD-ROM discs for our computers. If you need an encyclopedia or Sesame Street disc, go see Karen!
Dinosaur Park III
All you little pterodactyls and brontosauruses, don't miss the third annual Dinosaur Park! The very popular summer day camp program will be sponsored once again by West Fullerton Resource Center. Your parents can sign you up at the open enrollment, which will be held March 15th & March 22nd; 9am to 11am and 4:30pm to 6:30pm, in the "Church Lounge" at the Methodist Church. For information, please call Cristina Martínez at 441-3180.
The OLC Library
The Learning Center has a library consisting of many children's books which have been donated by our friends, or which we have bought. The library is maintained in good order by a very hard-working volunteer named Margareta Iancului.
We are pleased to lend books to our students to take home and read, whether for fun or for reports for school. If you take a book home, please return it as soon as you are done so other kids can read it. If you can't find the book you want, just ask Margareta. Last week, we saw a student searching for a book about elephants and Margareta knew exactly where to find the book he wanted.
Five Years of Memories
In the five years that Orangethorpe Learning Center has been open, we've accumulated a lot of memories of the children and their families we've come to know. In our neighborhood, families come and go and we hope that all the children who have moved on to other communities are still doing well in their new schools.
Some memories are sad. We can't forget when children have confided to us the pain they felt when family members have died, or when parents have separated, or whose parents were absent or alcoholics. We remember how tough it was for children who just arrived from another country to get used to a strange land, a new language and a difficult culture. We remember certain children who never wanted to do their homework and only distracted the children who really wanted to learn.
But there are a lot of good memories, too. We still remember:
Judith and Vanessa, who couldn't read at all, starting to read and discovering how much fun reading could be ... Angel, eagerly practicing writing his ABCs and numbers on our whiteboard ... Shermeek and Hilda composing and performing a hilarious rap tune at our closing day party ... Shana, showing up at the very last minute with a big project which she always finished just in time ... Gustavo enjoying coming to OLC so much that he felt sad when we closed for the summer ... Little kids who don't get to learn the Christmas carols at school, learning to sing Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful ... Phuong finally learning enough English to be able to play hangman on the computer ... Richard putting together complicated jigsaw puzzles ... Tony and Anthony, whose ancestries were Thai and Italo-Guatemalan respectively, insisting that they really were cousins ... The many neat pictures which Carol draws for us ... William and Jesse writing gory dinosaur stories on the computer, not for any homework assignment, but because it was fun.
What kind of memories will we gather during this new millenium?
Este ejemplar en español
Fun Times index
OLC home page