Centerville student and Miss Ohio High School America, Jade Eilers, is used to reading to young kids and sharing important life lessons, but since the outbreak of the coronavirus it’s now impossible to have face-to-face gatherings. Eilers will now connect with students via social media to keep the learning going.
Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Centerville families, students find ways to cope during outbreak

Ohio’s stay-at-home order has left many in the area to combat the coronavirus in different ways, while also attempting to find ways to make life bearable.

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It’s left parents and other caregivers looking for ways to keep their kids occupied and continuing their education while stuck at home.

Centerville student Jade Eilers is used to reading to young kids and sharing important life lessons, but since the outbreak of the coronavirus it’s now impossible to have face-to-face gatherings. But now she will connect with students via social media to keep the learning going.

Eilers, a junior who was recently crowned Miss Ohio High School America, will read live on Instagram and Facebook from 3 to 4 p.m on Thursday, April 2 a book called “When I Wear My Invisible Crown: Shayla Jackson’s Story.” Parents can connect their childrens by going to www.jadeeilers.com.

After she reads the book, Eilers will spend some time talking with kids about BOLD & BRAVE (Building Our Lives Drug-free and Building Respect And Values for Everyone).

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“I will illustrate how people can be different and experience bullying but ultimately how to be accepting and loving of others with differences,” she said. “The book illustrates the trials of someone with a hearing disability. She will then go through the messaging of BRAVE and guide the kids watching through a coloring exercise while reinforcing the message.”

A Centerville school initiative designed to increase engagement between residents and immigrant families called Connect Centerville is headed towards celebrating its second- year of operation.

The initiative also launched the Host Family Program in which newly arrived immigrant families were matched with Centerville families that were more established in the community.

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Centerville school district spokeswoman, Sarah Swan, said there are currently 215 students who have been identified as English Language Learners in the school district, and their families speak more than 30 different languages.

The school district has reached out immediately to help those immigrant families in need while they are staying-in-place at home.

Jeannette Horwitz, who is the director of the LEAP program (ESL) at Wright State, has been a host to Sophie Wen who brought her family to Centerville from China and the coronavirus outbreak has been a trying time for Wen.

“Sophie Wen and I are keeping in touch and talk about how things are going on in these trying times,” Horwitz told the Dayton Daily News. “She has a son (Eric) who is a senior in high school and she also has a younger son, Ivan, who is in Kindergarten. She feels the kids are fine for now and don’t have as many worries as the adults do. But, her younger son is a bit worried his classmates and teachers will forget about him now that there is no school.”

Wen’s husband works for Fuyao Glass America and is now working from home but he sometimes has to go in to help engineers solve problems with the machines at the factory.

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Horwitz has discussed with the Wen family about stocking up on daily necessities. The family lives in an apartment and does not have an adequate freezer so it’s hard to have enough food on hand.

“Like many others, Sophie has been standing in line at Costco and Kroger to stock up,” Horwitz explained. “She mentioned that it’s hard to find hand sanitizer and face masks these days. Another worry is money, and not having enough to pay rent and other living expenses as both Sophie and her husband have to stay at home right now.”

The Wen family is here on a work visa and worry that they may not qualify to receive any money from the U.S. government provided to help families.

Another issue that Horwitz has been discussing with the family revolves around discrimination.

“Sophie said that although a lot of people, like neighbors and friends, have been really kind to the family so far, as immigrants they worry about future discrimination since President Trump has referred to COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus,’” Horwitz said. “Sophie and I keep in touch via What’s App and send each other messages that way. Last night, we talked about the Stay At Home order that is now in effect and what it means.”

Through the trying times the Wen family and Horwitz also try to keep things light when possible.

“We also had some good laughs at some of the new English vocabulary we’re learning from this situation like ‘social distancing’,” Horwitz said. “We joked that we can have a What’s App ‘Stay at Home’ English lessons every night as we talk about what’s going on.”

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