DALLAS - They come from all over the world, many not speaking any English. Children new to America are getting some help from a Southern Methodist University graduate class.

Allison Hogan, a second grade teacher in Richardson, is among those who have volunteered some of her summer days to help the children in Dallas as part of an SMU master's program. Hogan and her classmates are applying the strategies they've learned in class to teach English as a second language to low-income children who attend Heart House in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood.

It's a great opportunity to not sit in a classroom all summer, Hogan said. As a graduate student, to go out in the field and apply it because in the summer time as teachers we're not able to go to classrooms and apply what we learned.

Most of the children are refugees. They come from countries like Burma, Iraq, Nepal and Thailand. Many have very little schooling, some have none at all and many know next to no English. But, this program goes beyond books.

If they've had tragedies or things we haven't seen, we definitely have to build relationships with them, Hogan said. And the first few lessons that's what we did, just establish a community, a sense of safety for these kids because unfortunately they haven't had that.

Hogan and her classmates visit the children every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer.


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