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Hofstra Starts New English Language Program for Hempstead Immigrants

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Hofstra University will partner with the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) in Hempstead to provide English language and citizenship instruction, deepening its commitment to Long Island’s immigrant community.

The new joint CARECEN-Hofstra project will use Hofstra faculty and students as instructors and tutors and capitalize on CARECEN’s 35 years of experience in the immigrant community. Hofstra is also providing financial support for the program, which will be housed at the CARECEN Center at 91 N. Franklin St. in Hempstead.

CARECEN has offered English language programs as a state-designated Office for New Americans Opportunity Center for several years, but state budget cuts jeopardized the programs.

“Immigrants want to learn English so that they can fully participate in the lives of their children and their communities,” said Elise Damas, CARECEN’s Legal Director.  “We faced the danger of completely shutting down English language instruction at CARECEN. Luckily, when Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz learned of our predicament, he stepped in personally to help us set up a new program for adults wanting to learn English.”

Hofstra University has a long history of working with immigrant communities through the Center for Civic Engagement and its nationally recognized clinical programs at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, which includes a Deportation Defense Clinic, an Asylum Clinic, a Youth Advocacy Clinic and an Immigration Clinical Practicum.

“Diversity, community service and civic engagement are central to Hofstra’s mission,” said President Rabinowitz. “We have many long-standing programs with other non-profits, schools and civic organizations in our community in which our students and faculty have the opportunity to work with community members and develop an understanding of the wider world. CARECEN’s English Language program is vital to the success of the Hempstead community, and therefore, to the Hofstra community.”

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