If you go
What: English as a Second Language classes
When: 9 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays for beginners starting Sept. 22; 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for intermediate and advanced learners starting Sept. 23
Where: St. Michael Catholic Church, 678 School St.
Cost: $50 for three months
• Mandatory placement tests take place at 9 a.m. Monday and Tuesday at St. Michael Catholic Church.
• Integrated Community is accepting volunteers to help teach the classes. Spanish language skills are not required.
• For more information, call Integrated Community at 824-6424.
Eveline Bacon has seen first-hand the need for English classes for Craig's Hispanic community.
Craig Bacon, Intercultural ESL program manager for Integrated Community, said she watched one day as a young Hispanic boy picked out an R-rated video game. His mother was with him and agreed to buy it.
Because his mother could not understand English, she relied on her son to translate when the store clerk said the boy wasn't old enough to purchase the game, Bacon said.
Only, the son's translation came out a little different.
"He's asking if you want to pay with cash or credit card," Bacon said the boy told his mother.
She senses that times are about to change.
"I think people are starting to wake up and say, 'This cannot happen,'" she said. "'My kid cannot translate for me. I need to talk to his teacher (and) I need to know what's going on.
"'I want to grow.'"
Bacon plans to launch English as a Second Language classes in Craig this month to meet that need. The three-month course is funded by grants from Colorado Trust and targets a range of learners from residents who are just learning English to those who want to hone their skills.
Starting Sept. 22, classes for beginners take place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at St. Michael Catholic Church, 678 School St. Intermediate and advanced classes take place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the church starting Sept. 23.
Classes cost $50 for a three-month period. The fee pays for books and testing.
Bacon will teach the classes, aided by several volunteers. She expects to see mostly women, including mothers and restaurant and hotel employees, taking the classes. However, classes are open to anyone who wants to learn English.
The program's ultimate goal is to bridge the language barrier between native Spanish and English speakers.
Once, the two groups could co-exist without having to communicate much with each other, Bacon said.
"It came to the point where people have to interact," she said.
Some residents already have jumped at the chance to learn a second language. Integrated Community had 40 slots in the program initially. As of Wednesday, 35 students were already enrolled.
Integrated Community could apply for more grants to fund evening ESL classes if demand for morning sessions continues. For now, however, Bacon is focused on the morning classes, which attract large numbers of Spanish-speaking women.
"A lot of these women, they're not very confident, they're not really empowered," she said.
Integrated Community may be able to change that.
"We really want to empower them," Bacon said.