"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

-Nelson Mandala

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Despite the cold and rainy evening, the gymnasium was filled with warm smiles and conversation for the Mahopac Central School District second annual English as a New Language (ENL) Family Night at Lakeview Elementary School earlier this fall. Parents and caregivers throughout the district joined the Mahopac schools’ ENL team, school administration members and community resources who help support an education and healthy living.

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Leigh Galione, ENL chairperson, and Jackie Vasquez, the district translator, kicked off the evening with a welcome and overview of district services and offerings to students with English as a new language.

“This evening is about you, your children and your families,” said Galione, with Vasquez translating to Spanish. “It is important to know how much we care about you. We are very proud of all the wonderful programs our schools offer to ensure our children have a successful school career,”

Superintendent Anthony DiCarlo gave the crowd a welcome in Spanish and spoke of the mission of the district to “foster a partnership between our teachers, parents, caregivers and community members to ensure our ENL students receive a strong academic, social and career foundation with high standards of excellence and achievement.”

The evening continued with the opportunity for parents and caregivers to get information and assistance from Mahopac schools’ educational and support services, community health, and well-being resources. Tomas Vasquez and Emmanuel Pichardo from the district’s Information technology department were on hand to help parents with any questions, such as the parent portal signup and student Chromebooks.

“The district has a translation service we can provide in order to promote productive conversations; we don’t want families to feel they cannot contact the schools. If you need assistance, we will be here for you,” Vasquez said.

The following is a list of ENL educational and well-being support resources and services:

• Mahopac Public & School Library

Information on obtaining a library card, and extracurricular programs and learning experiences

mahopaclibrary.org, 845-628-2009

• Mahopac Sports Association

Provides information on youth sports in the community such as soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, lacrosse, football, volleyball, wrestling and cheer

msasports.org

Open Door Family Medical Center – Brewster Office

Dental services, urgent care, immunizations, examinations and more

opendoormedical.org, 845-279-6999

Putnam Community Action Partnership

Assists families with basic needs, community services and resources

putnamcap.org, 845-278-8021

• Putnam/ Westchester BOCES

For families who have recently arrived from other countries and need assistance learning English

pnwboces.org, 914-248-2352

 Laura Lee Holmbo is the communications consultant for the Mahopac Central School District.