By Student Trustees
and Sierra Martinsen
Marisol Visser is a mom of 3 girls in the Issaquah School District currently pursuing her passion as an Issaquah Schools Foundation employee. Marisol is originally from Tabasco, Mexico and found after moving here that it can be difficult for her to understand how the American education system works and how to best support her children in an unfamiliar environment. She recognized years ago that this difficulty was not unique to her--many families in the Issaquah community speak a language other than English at home, leading to trouble understanding the information put out by the school district. To combat the issue of understanding the education system as a non-native English speaker, Marisol and Margarita Leas came up with a great idea--start a multilingual magazine that covers topics across the US school system, school procedures, how to get involved in your students’ education, and college prep. This magazine, Cultural Bridges, is designed to support non-native English speakers in the Issaquah community as they navigate the American school system and everything it entails. Families can subscribe and receive this quarterly magazine in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, English, Russian and Chinese.
During the current pandemic, Marisol is aiming to help non-native English speakers by translating recent news and advice into many different languages
to help parents navigate caring for their children during the quarantine. S
he encouraged the community to “
think about living in Japan and not being able to speak a bit of Japanese, but something as big as what we are living right now with COVID19 is happening. Wouldn't it be great if you were able to find local news in English so that you can truly understand better?” One example of her work in helping these multilingual families is translating the recent edition of the ParentWiser talks given on how to handle children’s strong emotions such as fear or stress.
Some suggestions for helping kids who are struggling emotionally include having family conversations about these feelings, getting the child involved in a hobby they are passionate about, or reaching out to a therapist over Zoom. By translating this advice, Cultural Bridges is helping parents better understand and support their children despite the language barrier.