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Charlotte nonprofit opens new site to benefit immigrant, refugee youth

The nonprofit said it is working to copyright its English Language Learner-based curriculum and plans to open a third facility in the South Boulevard area.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte-based nonprofit aimed at helping the city's immigrant and refugee communities is expanding its reach. 

ourBRDIGE for KIDS, in collaboration with Mecklenburg County, recently opened a second site for after-school programs specifically targeted toward middle school students resettling in the area. 

The facility is designed with students' comfort in mind, with amenities including a basketball court, playground, garden beds, nature trail, and a dedicated ourBRIDGE space that's available four hours per day. 

The nonprofit said there are 50 spots available for newly-arrived English language learners -- the nonprofit expects those spots to be filled by the end of 2021.

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“One of the lessons COVID taught us is the positive impact smaller class sizes have on our students' well-being,” Sil Ganzó, founder and executive director of ourBRIDGE said in a statement. 

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The first ourBRIDGE site at Aldersgate will now be reserved solely for K-5 students and the after-school program that serves 100 students. 

"We can’t thank Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation enough for joining us in our efforts to address and assist the growing numbers of immigrant and refugee neighbors, as we strive to make Charlotte a more welcoming, inclusive city, where newcomer families can develop a sense of belonging,” Ganzó said.

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The nonprofit said it is working to copyright its English Language Learner-based curriculum and plans to open a third facility in the South Boulevard area by September of 2022.

“The opening of our new site and the copyrighting of our curriculum is a result of us becoming more cognizant, thoughtful and strategic in our growth as we prepare to respond efficiently to the major influx of refugees expected to arrive,” Ganzó said.

Ganzó said the nonprofit is training staff and translating documents to ensure families from Afghanistan can smoothly transition into the community.

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