An immigrant from Togo is working toward his master’s degree. A woman from Somalia will soon begin culinary arts school. A mother from Mexico now feels empowered to speak up for herself.
Sister Agnes Foley couldn’t be more proud of them, and the thousands of other immigrants who are able to chase their dreams thanks to Learning in Style. After 23 years, Foley has retired from the Twin Cities program she founded that stresses education to empower adult immigrants.
Sister Agnes Foley
Courtesy of Learning in StyleSister Agnes Foley
“Everyday I come into (Learning in Style), I walk into a different world. I mean you open this door and people are here from all over the world, happy and working,” said Foley of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul. Leaving that atmosphere will be the most difficult part, she said before her retirement last week.
By SELAM BERHEA | email@example.com | Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: June 12, 2017 at 5:00 am | UPDATED: June 12, 2017 at 7:35 pmRead the full article at www.twincities.com >>
Learning in Style was started on 1994 out of St. Stephen’s Parish in South Minneapolis. Foley and three other sisters were the first teachers. The other sisters had backgrounds in teaching English, and Foley had math experience. There were 35 students.
Word of mouth from students helped the program grow.
It now has about 400 students and operates at a larger location on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. In all, more than 5,000 people have benefited from the program. And the staff has grown to about 20, according to Ann Thompson, communications director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates.
Courses focus on math, English, citizenship and computer skills. Emphasis is placed on creating a supportive and respectful environment open to all.
It is not just their professional lives but the successes in the students’ social and personal lives that Foley takes pride in.
“Some are saying, ‘I come out of my house now …’ Or ‘I’m not afraid of someone who doesn’t look like me,’ ” she said.