Monday, October 25, 2021

Starting a new life in America can be difficult, from learning new laws to identifying important local resources. A recent program aimed to make that transition easier.

Sponsored by Fond du Lac Literacy Services and the Fond du Lac County Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Community Resource Fair connected local organizations and individuals with new members of the community on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at St. Mary Church in Fond du Lac.

“The focus of the fair was to help those with limited English-speaking skills more easily navigate and overcome obstacles that result from language barriers,” said Juana Montes-Hernandez, literacy coordinator. 

In addition to Fond du Lac Literacy Services and St. Vincent de Paul, participating were Moraine Park Technical College, the Department of Workforce Development, Agnesian HealthCare, Aurora Health Care, immigration attorneys Alia Rouf and Nadeska Nino-Gomez, Bob Hartzheim, Candy Fields Tax Service, Advocap, Family Resource Center, Getting Ahead, Latinos Unidos, National Exchange Bank & Trust, Julie Bass State Farm, Latino Express, and Vossekuil Real Estate.

“The Resource Fair was an opportunity for those people new to Fond du Lac County or to those having questions to become aware of the support systems available to them in Fond du Lac County,” said Barb Lent of St. Vincent de Paul. “It was also an opportunity for those representatives of support systems to talk to other representatives and learn what resources are available in Fond du Lac County.”

These groups provided vital information to help ease that transition to the United States. This included information about banking, employment, housing, taxes, and U.S. law. Free COVID-19 vaccines also were available through the Fond du Lac County Health Department.

“The participants were able to talk directly with the various service providers, gaining information and signing up to access those services. I would support having the fair again and encourage even more service providers to participate,” Literacy President Rick Gregory said.

Given the positive response, Fond du Lac Literacy Services is planning to hold another event, called "New to the U.S. or Do you have legal questions?", on Tuesday, Dec. 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church on 271 Fourth St Way, Fond du Lac.

Fond du Lac Literacy Services, a United Way agency, works to develop local adults’ skills in reading, writing, math and speaking English. Literacy is headquartered on the second floor of the Fond du Lac Public Library downtown. For more information, call 920-322-3932 or email