At risk students being helped by foster grandparents

LAS VEGAS -- Every year thousands of refugees from around the world end up in southern Nevada looking to start a new life. Many of them are children who have to adjust not only to a new country, but a new language.

The start of public school is just one week away and for two young brothers it will be a new adventure. The boys arrived in the United States earlier this year from their native Afghanistan. Both boys say they are ready for school thanks to a woman who has been spending a lot of time with them over the past few weeks.

"It's a thousand words required before you can finish high school and we completed that in seven days," said Jeanne Humphrey, a foster grandparent.

Sixteen-year-old Yasir and 13-year-old Zahid escaped their war-torn country to come to Las Vegas with their parents earlier this summer. The boys didn't know a word of English.

"Three months ago, I not speaking English in Afghanistan," Yasir said.

The family asked that it's last name not be used due to safety concerns since leaving Afghanistan. 

The boys began learning English when they met Humphrey, their new American foster grandparent.  Humphrey takes part in a volunteer program through Catholic Charities.

"They know they have my undivided attention and children need that," Humphrey said.

She is one of 70 foster grandparents volunteering their time tutoring students at Clark County's at-risk schools.

"We do have people from all over the world," said Leslie Carmine, Catholic Charities.

The agency works with the Clark County School District to give kids who are new to the U.S. a leg up in education.

"It's really life changing for the volunteers and for the child. It's really rewarding for them," said Carmine.

Humphrey says teaching lets her become a grandmother to kids from all around the world and that's special because she's never had a grandchild of her own.

"I have no family so these kids are my family. It's wonderful."

The foster grandparents will work at around 40 schools once the fall semester starts next week. There is always a need for more volunteers as well as donations or money or school supplies.



 


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