Games build strong ESL family ties at Sauk Trail

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From the stretching and reaching in a challenging game of Twister to the careful stacking of Jenga towers, nearly 60 English as a Second Language (ESL) students and their families gathered at Sauk Trail Thursday March 8, for a district-wide celebration of community diversity in the form of playing games and sharing a meal.

Families from all District elementary schools were invited for an evening of fun, companionship and neighborhood networking.

“Our purpose was to offer a fun way for ESL families to meet and form connections with other families, and build strong relationships throughout this community,” said Angela Guzman, a member of the English Language Learner staff at Sauk Trail. “They can become great resources for each other as the families get more involved in our community.”

The evening's highlights included a pizza supper, a raffle to give away board games and a students vs. parents game of Twister.

“It's a fun way to introduce a lot of new board games to families who have never seen them,” Guzman said. “Many have asked us about the games and where they can buy them.”

Guzman and her fellow ELL staffers have held other ESL nights where guest speakers have offered family presentations on topics in which parents have expressed an interest, including Love and Logic, computer skills and ways to promote reading at home.

“Programs like tonight's make me feel good because I can see the joy in the faces of our children and their parents,” Guzman adds. “That's what it's all about.”

-- By Tom Kobinsky