137 individuals from all over the Atlanta metro area – and from all over the world – came together at Morgan Falls Overlook Park on Friday, May 19 to celebrate completing another semester of English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes at the Community Assistance Center (CAC). Students brought their families to the park and enjoyed a potluck party with a variety of foods from dozens of countries, including Venezuela, Ukraine, Iran, Morocco, Colombia, China, Ecuador, and Mexico. Partygoers played word bingo, read passages from books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and participated in a door raffle. CAC presented graduating students with certificates of achievement in an awards ceremony.

“I am so very proud of these students,” shares Monica Shirley, Education Director at CAC. “English is a very difficult language to learn, but they have shown up twice a week and tried their best, and the results are amazing.” CAC offers free adult education classes in ESOL, financial goal setting, computer basics, Microsoft software programs, and more throughout the year. The ESOL program offers seven levels of English, with classes twice a week on either mornings or evenings.

While CAC is an emergency assistance organization at its core, we are committed to helping our clients move beyond, and stay beyond, crisis. “Adult education is a vital piece for many families to move toward financial stability, and stay there,” states Francis K. Horton III, CEO of CAC. His organization offers emergency financial assistance, as well as food and clothing, for neighbors in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs that are in immediate need. To prevent future emergencies, CAC provides Adult Education classes and a Career Center to help individuals change the equation and find higher-paying careers.

“What makes this ESOL program stand out is the community we build over the semester,” continues Shirley. “Our students create a support system to help each other and create bonds that last a lifetime.” This end-of-semester celebration is a chance for all classes to come together and celebrate their hard work with their newfound community.

To learn more about CAC’s Adult Education program, please visit www.ourcac.org/education.