The Center Family Justice was recently awarded a generous grant which will allow the Bridgeport-based nonprofit to provide English as a Second Language classes to individuals impacted by domestic violence as they work to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of abuse.
The $7,500 grant provided by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Immigrant Success will allow CFJ — which provides crisis and supportive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in six local communities — to launch weekly ESL classes for domestic violence victims. These classes are intended to assist survivors of abuse in overcoming the many challenges and language barriers they face as they work to overcome the trauma and challenges caused by their victimization.
“This grant is an incredible gift to our clients, who often tell us that their inability to speak fluent English poses a real challenge which, in some cases, keeps them trapped in abusive relationships,” explains Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice. “By providing free, accessible English classes to our clients, we are taking an important, empowering step in helping them rebuild their lives in the aftermath of abuse.”
Greenwood noted these classes are in keeping with CFJ’s philosophy of offering victims and survivors the many services they need under one roof, in one safe place. “We are so grateful to Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for recognizing how important it is for us to connect our clients with the many services they need to address the trauma of their abuse.”
The program is being launched as an initiative of CFJ’s LatinX Domestic Violence Advocacy team, which provides crisis and supportive services to Spanish-speaking clients in their native language. Many Spanish-speaking victims report that language barriers make it more challenging for them to access services they need and, in the case of domestic violence, leave abusive relationships because of their economic and social dependency on a partner. The inability to speak English also creates an economic barrier for victims seeking employment so they can live safe, independent lives.
The grant has allowed CFJ to retain the services of Mireya Tipantisig, an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport, who will provide the weekly classes for a period of nine months.
Classes will begin later this month to CFJ clients on site at its Bridgeport headquarters.
To learn more about CFJ’s programs and services, please visit CenterforFamilyJustice.org. To learn more about this ESL program contact LatinX Program Director Laura Silva LSilva@CenterforFamilyJustice.org.