Programs at Sauk Valley Community College are helping the Hispanic community find the importance of a college-going culture.
FUSE, or Families United for a Strong Education, is a bilingual program offered at no charge to Hispanic/Latino English Language Learner families with children from fourth grade to high school seniors. Offered through Sauk’s Office of Cross-Cultural Services, FUSE helps participating families overcome barriers that limit their academic success, set higher educational goals, and improve their quality of life. This year FUSE partnered with the YWCA of Sauk Valley’s Immigrant Family Resource Program to hold four sessions as well as a conference for Hispanic/Latino families to learn about the benefits of Sauk and college life.
Sessions had current Sauk students and alumni speak on the importance of continuing education, their experience, and what skills are needed in different fields and programs. Families also received information on how to identify abilities, benefits of college and careers and what paths are needed to reach goals.
“Most of those that attend the FUSE meetings did not complete high school in their country, and though some did, they need to learn English or complete their GED in order to achieve the success they desire,” explained Ana Salgado, coordinator of cross-cultural services. Adult FUSE participants are encouraged to consider GED and ESL classes. As parents take classes, they start to encourage their children to set higher educational goals.
“FUSE parents want their children to be successful. They see the opportunities and want to do more to support their children with their education,” said Salgado. Through Dual Credit and Financial Aid Presentations, successful job searching and positive relationship workshops at the FUSE sessions, families start to see the importance of encouraging the continuation of education.
Salgado has seen how families feel a comfort and connection with Sauk because of the resources, such as FUSE. Sauk’s cross-cultural services can make a difference for Hispanic/Latino families through the use of the SVCC Spanish website link (svcc.edu/espanol), Association of Latin American Students, and other college and community resources.
FUSE was developed with grants from the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois State Board of Education, and funded 100 percent through Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006.For more information on Sauk’s FUSE Program, contact Ana Salgado, coordinator of cross-cultural services, at 815/835-6432.