This is a two-part series of my blog. I did some informational interviews with administrators and teachers at English Language Schools in my hometown of Chicago, IL. The recent changes of Immigration Policies by the Trump Administration have drastically impacted schools like the Hana Center. BIR, which I will talk about is different.
Being an ESL teacher is one of the best jobs I have been happy to have. I am pleased to say that this job has actually become one of my passions. I deeply love going to foreign countries, experiencing all of the said countries wonders and then teaching English to natives. However, what I don’t often talk about is the amazing work that comes from being an ESL teacher in the states.
Being an institution in the states that provides an education for foreigners is, in my opinion, its own form of heroism. So I would like to talk about two women who lead two institutions that I have had the pleasure to get to know during my time back in the United States.
The first is the Hana Center in Chicago, IL that caters to serving immigrants of all backgrounds but more specifically Koreans and Hispanics. The Hana Center prides itself on the services it provides for its customers. The Hana Center provides a wide variety of services not limited to consulting, cultural events and of course language learning (Korean, Spanish and English).
Fun Fact: Hana Center gets its name from the “Hana” which in Korean means the Number One and in Japanese means Flower.
What is more amazing is that most of their services are low costing to free. The Hana Center acts as safe beacon for all of those who are there to open their minds and learn new things. The Hana center has partnered with some government agencies to help them help the needs of their customers especially in terms of funding and resource support.
And at the helm of the Educational Services part of the Hana Center is a Dr. SL Yon. Dr. Yon spends her typical day doing teacher’s meetings, brainstorming ways to get help improve the lives of their patrons and searching for government grants to apply for to keep a source of funding for the Hana Center to keep its services going.
Dr. Yon feels that the Hana Center has this weird reputation that it is for poor people when in fact it is for everyone who goes out and knows about it! The Hana Center has many festivals and events that will allow Americans to see the life and culture of Korea.
Dr. Yon deeply enjoys serving a marginalized community of people especially as we in the States are entering a very dark time in terms of the U.S.’s current administration. In addition, she loves the community itself. The Hana Center itself helps the Hispanic and Korean communities with services such as Business preparation, job placement and the like.
Unfortunately, the Hana Center sometimes faces challenges when it comes to getting funded. It derives most of the funding for its services from government grants and the like and with this current administration’s very staunch stance on anti-immigration it is difficult to secure funding.
Nevertheless, Dr. Yon perseveres and continues to push all the initiatives of the Hana Center. The Hana Center is definitely one of the safest places for immigrants in the states and Dr. Yon captains the educational services part. For those in the States, I encourage you to visit and support the Hana Center in all their efforts.