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Congratulations to the FRESHStart Kitchen Program Graduates!

Chester County OIC would like to congratulate the three students that completed The Chester County Food Bank’s FRESHStart Kitchen Culinary Program on August 12th.

We would especially like to congratulate Daryll and Shaqueena as they walked into the doors of OIC over 10 weeks ago and were brave enough to start a new thing! We would lastly like to thank Chef Ranney, Chef Wayne and Ms. Amy and any other food bank staff for their hard work, dedication and will—- this program is about more than cooking!

The FRESHStart Kitchen is a 12-week culinary job training program provided by the Chester County Food Bank. Participants receive a set of professional cooking materials, ServSafe Managers certification, resume assistance, any many more assets for those looking to enter a culinary career. Call 610-692-2344 to learn about applying for the September 16th session.

“I Am OIC” Gina’s Story

The “I am OIC” program started a few years ago and continues to be a powerful way for our clients, staff, donors and volunteers to express why they are a part of the OIC Family. The following is a story submitted by Gina as she speaks about teaching in our ESL Program:

“I came to OIC as an ESL teacher, thinking about what I could give to students to adjust and develop their lives in the United States. Instead, the students and staff at OIC broadened my worldview and gave me the opportunity to use and share my experience and talents as an educator, manager, and writer. Thank you to all who helped me to be able to say, ‘I am OIC!’ I am successful because…I am OIC!”

If you have been touched by OIC we would love to hear your story on how you are a member of the “I am OIC” family. Please email cynthia@ericsonsms.com and include your full name and a paragraph on your experience. If you are comfortable please also attach a picture of yourself, note that testimonials may be included in OIC’s social media program and website.

CCOIC At The “Sounds of Summer” Jazz Series

Chester County OIC invites you to come, visit, and relax with us at our table at the Coatesville “Sounds of Summer” Jazz Series at Gateway Park Friday nights through August 23rd! Enjoy the improvisational sounds of Beebop, Cool and Contemporary Jazz, Cross Over, and many more artistic styles of music at this fun for everyone event. Be sure to bring a lawn chair, and don’t be shy to stop on over and chat with us about all the important work CCOIC is doing for the community!

I Am Chester County OIC: Miroslawa’s Story

The “I am OIC” program started a few years ago and continues to be a powerful way for our clients, staff, donors and volunteers to express why they are a part of the OIC Family. The following is a story submitted by Miroslawa as she recalls her experiences with our ESL Program:

“I am OIC because it’s never too late to learn! I am a 37 year-old Pole and English is my second language. Its been almost two years since I started living in the United States and soon I’m going to apply for US Citizenship. I had been looking for a place where I could study English and prepare for the new naturalization test.”

“At Chester County OIC, I found everything I was looking for. I found myself surrounded by students from all around the world. Learning a new language doesn’t only mean learning its grammar. You need to experience the language by talking, reading, and listening. OIC provides everything starting with the most important—professional and experienced ESL teachers.”

“Now I have completed my second semester in my ESL/ Civics class. I plan to make an appointment for my citizenship interview and in the fall continue at MY OIC–in the GED class. In the future I hope to get a job or to start college.”

If you have been touched by OIC we would love to hear your story on how you are a member of the “I am OIC” family. Please email cynthia@ericsonsms.com and include your full name and a paragraph on your experience. If you are comfortable please also attach a picture of yourself, note that testimonials may be included in OIC’s social media program and website.

Chester County OIC Hosts Community Dinner

Last Wednesday, we hosted a Community Dinner–pasta style! Several young people attended and received iPhone 5s with minute cards and chargers!

At this dinner we were able to discuss community development, community involvement, millennial ideas, the history of Chester County OIC and OIC of America at large.

We appreciate all the young adults that came out to socialize and prioritize the growth of Chester County and their community. More photos from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page. A special thank you to Lamb Beverage, Coatesville Community member Ms. Shelika Spain and Wegman’s for contributions to our community dinner!

Congratulations 2019 GED Graduates!

Congratulations to the class of 2019 GED graduates this past June! Thank you to the GED instructors, the PA Careerlink (Exton) and other countywide organizations that helped to make this day possible. Graduates we welcome you to join our Workforce Reintegration Program that can place you in career training and other employment opportunities.

Aya Health Café Event Photos

Chester County OIC was proud to partner with the Black Women of Chester County in Action in order to present Aya Health Café on June 29th. The event was designed to promote the importance of health and wellness as it pertains to black women and their physical wellbeing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2011-2013, black women have high amounts of heart disease (7.6% compared to 5.8% of white women). In addition, rates of diabetes between white and black women are almost doubled–5.4 per 100 vs. 9.9 per 100 according to CDC data collected from 1980 to 2014. These along with other studies have spurred BWCCA into activism to empower women of color to take their health into their own hands.

One of the ways this goal was emphasized was through walking. Studies conducted by numerous health organizations have shown that walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of chronic illness–many of which effect black women disproportionally. In order to raise awareness to the benefits of walking, one of the main events of the day was a fun mile walk in the community. A drum circle, complimentary breakfast and lunch, and vendor area was also provided for attendees.

Pictures from the Aya Health Café are now up on Facebook. Click here to see photos from our wonderful event. Special thanks to Fonz Newsuan for his photography and camerawork during this event.

Save the Date! The CCOIC Awards Gala Will Be Returning For Its 40th Year

Remember to mark your calendars and buy tickets early because the formal Chester County OIC Awards Gala is returning for its 40th year with a whimsical Wizard of Oz inspired theme–“There’s No Place Like Home!” Join us on November 15th, 2019 at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA for a night of dinner and celebration as we commemorate those who have helped to make our mission a success. For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and ticket sales please call us at 610-692-2344.

I Am Chester County OIC: Kokilathas’ Story

Thas smiling for a photo.

Kokilathas (Thas) is from Sri Lanka and grew up in the city of Jaffna. He finished 13 years of formal training and received his High School Diploma. Thas immigrated to the United States on February 23rd, 2009. He came to America seeking political asylum because the Sinhalese Army, a controlling group in Sri Lanka, was killing the Tamil people. The obstacles he faced immigrating into the United States were finding legal assistance and filling the requirement of having a United States address.

Thas wanted to speak better English. meet other immigrants residing in the United States and learn more about the culture and traditions of the country. His friends attended the English as a Second Language program at Chester County OIC and recommended that Thas attend too. He began the program in 2010 when he tested low beginning ESL He then moved up to High intermediate ESL and in August of 2013 post-tested at Advanced ESL.

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Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center is a non-profit community- based organization that has been meeting the needs of the economically disadvantaged individuals throughout the community. 

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