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franklin county times

Family Center giving language lessons

By Staff
Jonathan Willis FCT Staff Writer
With one of the largest Hispanic populations per capita in the state, Franklin County continues to face a communication barrier that has been hard to break.
The Franklin County Family Services Center hopes that can be changed soon. The center has been offering English courses to Spanish speaking residents and now will afford that same opportunity to those who want to learn Spanish.
Beginning Thursday night, Alex and Helen Retana will be teaching conversational Spanish to English speakers at the former College Avenue Elementary School building in Russellville.
The classes will be taught each Thursday from 6:15-7:45 p.m. Oct. 21 through Jan. 27. Classes will also be conducted on Saturdays from 9:45-11:15 a.m. Oct. 23 through Jan. 29.
The Retanas moved to Florence from Los Angeles, Ca., a year ago and saw the need for the course.
The class is currently being offered to police officers in the area, said family services director Judy Austin.
The Retanas have been teaching similar classes in Florence and have decided to offer them in Russellville as well. Alex, who works for the Boeing company, also has plans to start a new church, called Unity Christian Fellowship, located on North Jackson Avenue.
Helen said that religious differences in Franklin County are much different than they are in Los Angeles.
In addition to the language classes they are teaching and the church they are starting, the Retanas will also be teaching Mexican Folklore Dance lessons.
The dance classes will be taught on Saturday mornings at the Family Services Center beginning Oct. 23.
For more information on the conversational Spanish or Mexican Folklore Dance lessons, call 331-2552.

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