One of the best ways to get to know a new community is to immerse yourself in it! When Rocio Jiménez moved to Southern Oregon from Mexico, she decided to help clean up her neighborhood and to "volunteer for many years in the Jackson Elementary School, helping the teachers with different groups and activities" and "reading books to the kids in kindergarten." Lin Cong moved to the United States four years ago. "My English is much better than before," he says. "Everything is progressing in my new life. That gives me lots of hope. I'm thinking about getting my college degree in the next few years."
The new History: Made by You exhibition, "Stories of Home," highlights Lin's and many others' experiences of immigrating to Southern Oregon. The exhibit will be at the Medford Library from Friday, March 29, 2013 through May 23, 2013. It will be at the Rogue Valley Mall from Thursday, May 23, 2013 through Wednesday, June 10, 2013.
"Stories of Home" explores themes of creating a sense of belonging that we all seek in our communities. Most of us living in Southern Oregon moved here recently - sometimes a few years ago, sometimes a few generations - and we can relate to the struggle of coming to a new place to find a new home. These students', in their own words, describe their contributions to the community, advice for newcomers, and why they chose to move here.
For this project, SOHS partnered with a high intermediate/advanced English as a Second Language class in Rogue Community College's ESL Program and their instructor and ESL Faculty Coordinator, Kiersta Fricke-Gostnell. The exhibition features student writing; portraits of the students, photographed by Greg Zurbrugg; and objects from the students' native countries.
For more information on the exhibition, please contact Amy Drake, Curator of Special Projects, at the Southern Oregon Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or (541) 773-6536 ext. 1006.