After years of hard work and research regarding unmet needs in our community, the Sisters of the Presentation opened the Presentation Lantern Center in 2002 as the first and only language learning/welcome center for adult immigrants within a 40+ mile radius of Dubuque. Sponsored by the Sisters of the Presentation and still supported in innumerable ways by the Sisters, including partially financially, the Center has welcomed over 1,000 immigrants from 69 different countries through our doors. Our primary focus – enhancing and increasing adults’ English language acquisition and literacy skills to assist immigrants in their quest for American citizenship and integration. Since its inception, the Center has assisted individuals from 69 countries, while many other individuals – from volunteers to immigrants and their children or grandchildren, have found solace in the welcoming, genuine atmosphere the center provides.
The Presentation Lantern Center’s motto, “a place of welcome,” is the cornerstone of our non-profit organization. Sister Corine Murray, PBVM of Dubuque, Iowa, served as the founding executive director until 2016. Visitors to the center are warmly welcomed by staff and volunteers. Language learners are then paired up with a personal mentor with whom they study English and learn practical life skills to use in their new country. Language learners also have the opportunity to engage in conversation with other language learners, which fosters an environment where all are welcome to share stories of their culture and personal experiences.