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“We are New York” conversation group holds last class

Bronx Times

A city conversation program for non-native English speakers and immigrant New Yorker is silent.

The “We Are New York” conversation group held at the Westchester Square Library for the past eight weeks held their last class April 12.

But volunteer group leader John Moreschi Jr. said he hopes that doesn’t mean the conversation is over.

“Me personally, I would love to do it again,” he said.The citywide program was started by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to foster English conversation for the two groups.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office initiated the group program locally, with meetings every Thursday at the library, located at 2521 Glebe Avenue,

The goal of the initiative was to teach non-native English speakers about city services while they practice their English skills.

“We start off each class with everbody individually speaking, then we’ll go over words for that specific session or week and then students will conversate amongst themselves and then we will watch a movie and then they will conversate again,” said Moreschi.

He said the group started off with about 20 members, with an average of about 15 students showing up regularly every week.

Moreschi said he has seen a very significant change in his students over the past eight weeks.

“Ive seen students come in here very fearful to speak and not be able to get a word out,” he said. “But over the course of the last eight weeks I’ve seen them become comfortable and conversate and speak. It’s been pretty awesome.”

Vacca said he feels the program was a great success.

“It is very important that we provide assistance to immigrant New Yorkers and teach them more about New York City services while practicing their English speaking skills,” he said. “I hope that we can continue this program in the future.”

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