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Follow our coverage of immigration and related issues affecting Latinos in the Charlotte area.

After-school program for Charlotte immigrant and refugee students expands to second site

Courtesy of OurBRIDGE
OurBRIDGE for Kids is an after-school program for immigrant and refugee students.

An after-school program for immigrant and refugee students is expanding to a second site as those populations grow in Charlotte.

OurBRIDGE for Kids is opening a site for up to 50 middle school students at Methodist Home Recreation Center on Shamrock Road. That’s just a few blocks down the street from the Aldersgate site in east Charlotte, which will continue to host 100 K-5 students.

OurBRIDGE founder Sil Ganzó says her staff is preparing for the arrival of new families from Afghanistan.

“Because many new families will be coming from Afghanistan we will be training our staff and translating our documents in order to make their transition into our community as smooth as possible,” Ganzó said in a press release.

The center already serves students from Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Ganzó says the new Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation site offers basketball courts, garden beds and a nature trail for the middle school students. OurBridge has created a curriculum to help students who are learning English develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

“One of the lessons COVID taught us is the positive impact smaller class sizes have on our students' well-being,” Ganzó said.

OurBRIDGE plans to open a third site in the South Boulevard area next fall.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.
Maria Ramirez Uribe is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race, equity and immigration for WFAE and La Noticia, an independent Spanish-language news organization based in Charlotte.