Org Started by Baltimore and AA County Educators Helps Immigrant Kids Go to College

Students with the Chesapeake Language Project in Nov. 2016. Photo: CPL

I jumped at the chance when my friend and colleague, Gaston Gamez, the Bilingual Outreach Specialist, asked me if I wanted to go to a fundraiser for The Chesapeake Language Project at Namaste Restaurant in Crofton last month.

I know Namaste well (stay tuned for my upcoming review in the APat), and I love the food. I also really appreciate what The Chesapeake Language Project is doing for kids in our state. The organization formed about two years ago with the goal to increase educational opportunities for immigrant students all over Maryland.

Some of the students in the program have parents who have never been to college before and do not know the ropes or how to navigate the difficult pathways to testing, applying for colleges and the financial aspects of having a kid in college. CLP lines their students up with mentors who guide the individuals through the college selection process by taking them on tours of the schools, helping them with their applications, and assisting with many of the other overwhelming steps of college selection. They do things such as raise scholarship funds for immigrant students to pursue higher education.

Chesapeake Language Project at the Namaste Restaurant in Crofton for their April fundraiser. Suzan Eichorn (Founder), Gaston Gamez (Board Member), Kiran Sandha (Founder), Shelley Hartford (Founder). Photo: Janice Fisher.

The organization was born two years ago by founding members Suzan Eichhorn, Kiran Sandha, Shelley Harford, Tema Encarnacion, and Erin Sullivan. Most of these founders are educators in Anne Arundel and Baltimore County for English Language Learners (ELL). They said that they recognized a great need to help students once they leave high school.

The event raised funds with Namaste’s generous profit sharing a percentage of their evening revenue. CLP also had a raffle. I have a magic touch with winning raffles, but unfortunately, I had to leave my ticket with my husband PK who was staying at the restaurant longer than me, and he did not turn out to be as lucky as I am.

If you want to learn more and contribute to a worthwhile cause, please check out their website or head to their contribution site. If you know a student who could benefit, have them apply here.

Both the CLP and Namaste have Facebook pages to ‘Like’ and keep abreast of upcoming events.

Janice Fisher is a physical therapist and beekeeper from Annapolis, Maryland.

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