State of the Village Report-2014


If the world were a village of only 100 people, there would be:

     60 Asians,
    16 Africans, 
    10 Europeans, 
      8 people from Central & South America, Mexico & the Caribbean, 
      5 from the USA and Canada, and
      1 person from Australia or New Zealand

The people of the village would have considerable difficulty communicating:

 17 people would speak a Chinese dialect (12 of them Mandarin) 
      6 Spanish,
      5 English,
      4 people Hindi/Urdu, 
      3 Arabic,
      3 Portuguese, 
This list accounts for less than half the villagers. The others speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Javanese, Lahnda, German, French, and over 7,000 other languages.

In the village there would be: 

     32 Christians,
     23 Moslems, 
     15 Hindus, 
     16 Nonreligious, Agnostics, or Atheists,
      7 Buddhists, 
      6 Folk or traditional religions
      1 All other religions (including Judaism, Baha’i, Sikhism, Shintoism, 
          Taoism, Zoroastrianism, to mention just a few.

In this 100-person community: 

    51 would live in cities. (footnote #1)
     23 would live in substandard housing.  (footnote #2)
     74 adults (age 15+) live in the village; & 16 of them illiterate. (footnote #3)
     14 would suffer from malnutrition. (footnote #4) 
     11 would not have access to clean, safe drinking water. (
footnote # 5)
     20 people would not have any electricity.  (footnote # 6)
         Of the 80 that do have electricity, most would use it only for light at night. 
     In the village would be 56 radios (footnote # 7)
, 22 televisions (footnote # 8),

         93 mobile phone subscriptions (footnote #9), and 9 computers (footnote # 10)
         (some villagers own more than one of each). 

     40 people are using the Internet.  (footnote # 11)
     17 people would own an automobile  

(some of them more than one). 

 (footnote # 12)
       8 people would possess 83% of the entire village’s wealth. (footnote # 13)
       The poorest 70% of the people would receive only 3% of the income 

          of the village. (footnote #14)
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Annual Fundraising Campaign

Dear Friends,

As we approach this holiday season, CEP has been providing Adult Basic Education classes, referral and advocacy services to low-income, migrant, and immigrant adult learners in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield for over two decades.  While many small CBO’s struggle to survive, CEP’s programming is stronger than ever, our community partnerships continue to expand and strengthen, and our commitment to helping new-comer adults realize their full potential as fully engaged members of the community with equal access to education, healthcare and employment is as strong as when the agency was founded over 20 years ago.

ESOL 4 class A

ESOL Class

In 2014-15, we will continue to provide free classes to over 150 adult learners who are committed to learning English and building literacy skills to help their children with homework, enter employment, or enter post-secondary education or work-force training programs. Our students come from the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. In 2014-15 our classes include HiSET (GED) preparation in Spanish, English Language instruction (ESOL) and day and evening transition to college classes, as well as a Family Literacy/ESOL class for the families of migrant farm workers in Springfield.

Elia pic

Elia Dreyfuss

In Memory of Elia Dreyfuss:

This past year Holyoke lost a  tireless advocate and champion of Social Justice. Elia Dreyfuss was one of the first ESOL teachers at CEP and maintained her connection and commitment to the agency even after she moved on to other jobs. As an educator and advocate in low-income Latino communities of Mexico, California, and Holyoke, Elia worked to empower the lives of thousands of people by helping them access educational programs, better health care services, and improve the economic circumstances of their families. Most recently, for the past 8 years, Elia partnered with CEP as the Coordinator of the Transition to College and Careers Program at Holyoke Community College.  Her work with CEP as Coordinator of the Transition to College and Careers Program created the opportunity for hundreds of low-income, first generation college students to enter college with the academic skills and self-confidence to succeed, and with education plans tied to career paths to jobs that pay family supporting wages. The Elia Dreyfuss Scholarship Fund for graduates of the ABE-TCC program has been established at Holyoke Community College in Elia’s memory.

Thanks to the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice and Holyoke Community Development Block Grant Program for supporting our Native Language Literacy programming in Spanish.  Funding from Holyoke CDBG Program allows us to add a third level of instruction for adults who are studying to take the high school equivalency test (HiSET) in Spanish.  Thanks to the dedication of our NLL teacher, Luz Alvarado-Torres, several of her students passed the GED last year and several more are poised to take and pass the new HiSET this year.  Support from the Carlos Vega Fund for Social justice will allow CEP to pay for half of the cost for up to ten students to take the HiSET in Spanish in 2014-15.

We value your supportPlease become one of our vital collaborator’s and use the DONATE button on the CEP home page to demonstrate your support of CEP’s programming. We need your help!

NLL student

Educational Programming in 2014-2015

Our 2014-15 NLL and ESOL programming is supported by grants from the Mass. Department of Education, the Beveridge Family Foundation and Community Foundation of Western Mass and private donors like YOU.  

Native Language Literacy in Spanish: 317 Main St., Holyoke 

Multigenerational NLL Students

Multigenerational NLL Students


  • Three levels of Native Language Literacy classes in Spanish: Adult Basic Education (ABE) Levels II, III, and IV.
  • Intensive small group instruction for individuals who are preparing to take the new High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).
  • Includes bilingual academic advising and assessment; referrals to community services; emphasis on preparing to enter ESOL classes after passing the HiSET.
  • Thanks to a grant from the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice, we are able to pay for half the cost for our students to take the HiSET.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): Picknelly Center, 206 Maple St., Holyoke

ESOL student

ESOL Student

  • Two levels of English Language instruction (ESOL):  low-Intermediate and high-Intermediate levels focused on oral proficiency, reading and
  • Includes bilingual academic and career advising and assessment; referrals to community services; emphasis on preparing to enter the transition to college and careers program or the workplace.

Family Literacy/ESOL class for migrant farm workers: in partnership with Holyoke/Springfield Head Start

  • Beginning ESOL instruction building key vocabulary and necessary phrases for daily life focusing on Health Care, Housing and Shopping for Food.
  • Includes daily parents and children reading together story book time.
  • Family dinner provided by Head Start.

ABE-Transition to College and Careers: at Holyoke Community College and Picknelly Center

  • The Transition to College and Careers Program is provided in partnership with Holyoke Community College and offers free evening and day classes at the Picknelly Center and at Holyoke Community College. The Bridge and ABE-TCC classes are college prep classes for adults who have a high school diploma or high school equivalency; who need to improve their academic skills or build English reading and writing skills to place into college level, credit-bearing courses. These classes have saved over 100 graduates of the Transition to College and Careers program more than $80,000 in tuition and book fees over the past four years by preparing them to by-pass fee-based, non-credit bearing Developmental Education classes when they enroll in college. Both the day and evening classes provide bilingual advising, assistance with financial aid applications and how to access college academic and other college counseling services, as well as career counseling and the development of a written career education plan linked to a career path to jobs in industries that pay family sustaining wages.
ABE-TCC students_2011

TCC Students

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PeoplesBank supports CEP’s adult literacy programming.

The CEP staff, students, and Board of Directors gratefully acknowledge the support of PeoplesBank in our efforts to provide comprehensive adult literacy programming in Holyoke and greater Hampden County.

For 2014-15 our adult literacy classes include:

  • Three levels of Native Language Literacy for adults preparing to take the high school equivalency test in Spanish.
  • Two levels of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) focusing on speaking, reading and writing.
  • An evening Bridge to Transition to College and Careers class at the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center for adults preparing to enter college (a partnership with Holyoke Community College)
  • A day Transition to College and Careers college prep class at Holyoke Community College

For more information contact us at: 413-538-5770

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September 21-27 is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

Family and Adult Ed.

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Transition to College and Careers grad receives award.


Transition to College and Careers graduate Nancy Vasquez is the recipient of the Elia Dreyfuss Scholarship award.  The Elia Dreyfuss Scholarship was established at Holyoke Community College by friends and colleagues in memory of former HCC Transition to College and Careers Coordinator Elia Dreyfuss.  Graduates of the Transition to College and Careers Program who exhibit exemplary character and persistence in achieving their academic goals while preparing to enter college, and who demonstrate commitment to their TCC learning community are eligible to be recommended by CEP staff for the award.

Nancy studied to pass her GED at both CEP and the Holyoke Community College-Adult Learning Center while maintaining her job as a childcare provider in Chicopee.  After passing her GED exam, Nancy enrolled in the evening Bridge to Transition to College and Careers class sponsored by CEP and Holyoke Community College at the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center in downtown Holyoke. In addition to near perfect attendance and her academic progress, Nancy demonstrated unwavering commitment to her fellow students in the TCC program by encouraging and helping them whenever possible.  Her TCC teacher wrote:  “Nancy was a joy to have in class, and I think she is exemplary of the kind of student for whom this program works best.  She truly took responsibility for her own academic growth and development, and her experience with us combined with her own attitudes and habits will continue to pay off throughout the rest of her education.”

Nancy will be continuing her education this fall at Holyoke Community College.  We wish Nancy great success in college and look forward to attending her future graduation from HCC.

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Reflections of an ESOL Tutor

Every year the outstanding Holyoke Tutor Mentor Program provides Juntos ABE programs with high quality, dedicated tutors to provide individualized and small group academic support in the classroom.  These volunteer tutors come from surrounding communities from a variety of backgrounds, but they have in common a desire/commitment to making a contribution to our community by helping people build the academic skills necessary to pass the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) or become more proficient and comfortable speaking English; so they can participate more fully in their children’s education or get a better job.  In behalf of our ESOL students and their families, we want to acknowlege the work of our two fabulous tutors, Jennifer and Johanna in helping our English language learners reach their goals. Many small acts of kindness have a positive multi-generational impact and really do contribute to meaningful social change.

The reflection below below was written by ESOL tutor Jennifer Delozier and speaks to the richness of experience many tutors enjoy through the “two-way learning” process they participate in with our students.

Listening With Different Ears 

I am a volunteer tutor in a nearby city with adults who are learning to speak, read and write English. English is my native and only language. In one class of sixteen students, 9 countries are represented by students for whom English is not their native language. Sometimes, my “English-prone” ears don’t adjust well to their best attempts at English words. To say this indicates there is absolutely nothing wrong with the English that that the students speak and are learning to speak better all the time.

When my lack of understanding of a non-native speaker in a conversation first occurred, I panicked a bit because I didn’t understand what a student was saying.  “I didn’t quite get that. Will you tell me again?” I would stumble and sweat. In the weeks to follow, I also found myself often blurting out, “Can you repeat that please?” or “I didn’t understand that. Can you try again?”

All of these responses to the students’ attempts at speaking English well could have been an unconscious assumption on my part that the student whose  words I  didn’t comprehend needed to speak differently; that something was “wrong” with how they were speaking.

I am now in my 2nd year of tutoring. But there was a time of immense frustration for me during those first few months, which resulted in a subtle understanding that I needed to change my ears and my ways of hearing to best understand what was being said. It began to dawn on me that it was my problem, not theirs. To remedy this entailed listening carefully and with full attention on the student and the words he/she were saying. It helped to be face-to-face but eye contact was not always necessary nor even appropriate depending on a person’s native culture and customs. Just ear to mouth; mine to theirs.

The biggest aspect that needed to change was that assumption that since the students weren’t speaking clearly there was something wrong with how they were speaking. As I continue in this role, it needs to be with outmost humility and patience in myself and with the students.

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CEP Literacy Programming Supported by Beveridge Family Foundation

The Students, Staff and Board of Directors at CEP would like to express our gratitude for the generous support of our Literacy Ladder to Success programming by the Beveridge Family Foundation. Support from the BFF will help to support two ESOL classes, two Native Language Literacy classes and a day and evening Transition to College and Careers class.  CEP literacy programming helps newcomer adult learners prepare to take the High School Equivalency Test in Spanish or become more English proficient.  Partnering with Holyoke Community College, our Transition to College and Careers educational and career advising and academic support services help newcomer adults and first generation college candidates prepare to enter and succeed in post secondary education building the skills to help them reach their goals of entering into careers with jobs that pay family sustaining wages

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