French Heritage Language Program in Northern California

August 25, 2016 | By FRENCH EDUCATION DC

Thanks to the Cultural Services of the General Consulate of France in San Francisco, the French Heritage Language Program (FHLP) partnered for the first time over this summer with Education Française de la Bay Area (EFBA), an association that offers French classes K-12 in the San Francisco Bay Area. This partnership enables kids from Haitian underserved communities from the Marin County (north of San Francisco) to participate in French immersion summer camps. 

More than 15 students have been sponsored by the FHLP to partake in fun and educative activities organized in French by EFBA in the schools of Berkley, Marin City, and Santa Rosa. These children were identified among the Haitian community with the support of Edner Eloi, Pastor of the Haitian Church of Novato, North of San Francisco. 

This experimentation has been very successful both in terms of language development and social integration with other francophone kids from the Bay Area. In this Haitian community, children grow up in a multilingual environment where English and Creole languages are largely dominating in daily life. If parents still speak French, children who are mainly second generation immigrants seem to have less and less opportunities to practice their French and therefore to maintain their francophone heritage. The needs for French classes are wide and in this context, the French immersion Summer camps organized by EFBA stand as a great solution for those young Americans. 

We were very lucky that a French Member of Parliament (MP) for people outside of France, Sergio Coronado was in the Bay Area at the same time and accompanied us throughout our visit to the Summer Camps. As the MP for French people located outside France in charge of the South American and Caribbean circumscriptions, including Haiti, he acknowledged this partnership with EFBA and congratulated the FHLP for all of the actions carried out for Haitian communities in the United States. 

The FHLP and EFBA rejoiced about the success of this experimentation and are thinking of ways to arrange a French afterschool program all year long for the Haitian children of the Marin County. 

For more information: 

French Heritage Language Program: https://www.facebook.com/fhlpnewyork/

Education Française de la Bay Area: www.efba.us

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