Finding a Place that Feels Like Home
Originally from Ethiopia, Rihana and her family have been in the US for ten years. As with most immigrant families, she said that adjusting to life in Minnesota was a struggle. But, when one of her friends told her about Neighborhood House and its services, it became a foundation that she’s built on to accomplish her goals.
Rihana’s first experience with Neighborhood House was in the classroom learning English. But, it became much more for her than just learning the language – it was a place that became more like home. “Yes, we learned English, but the classroom was a place where we could ask for help with anything and the instructors were always willing to help us immediately,” she said. “One of my instructors walked me through a problem I was having on my Amazon account and has offered resources to help with issues that are difficult to understand when you speak a different language.” Rihana and her classmates also felt connected to one another, going on field trips together and hosting cookouts where each student shared food from their countries of origin.
Because she had such a positive experience in English class, Rihana felt comfortable enrolling her children into Neighborhood House’s Parent and Early Childhood Education program. While the kids are in another room learning, their parents come together and share parenting tips. The best part, she said, is that those attending are from all over the world, so they have a diversity of opinions and solutions. “We talk about everything from potty training and bedtime routines to how to get our kids to eat their dinner,” she said. “Since we’re all from different places, we hear different ways of parenting. We give each other advice and it has been a great place to socialize with other parents.”
Rihana’s primary goal is to enroll into St. Paul College to study child development, which she hopes to do soon. “Neighborhood House has changed my life! I have been truly motivated here by all of the support and encouragement I’ve received.”