With classes held at the Parsippany PAL, a local Italian school recently achieved its not-for-profit status.
Founded three years ago to fill a need in the community, the Italian School NJ is a growing initiative that seeks to educate students of all ages and levels in both Italian language and Italian culture.
This past September, the organization received its not-for-profit status.
“Without the tremendous support from so many people in the community, our school would not have grown and flourished as it has,” said Natalia Bernini-Carri and Marilisa Zanarella, founders of Italian School NJ.
The school started out with six young students whose parents were interested in exposing them to the language, and as of last year, has expanded to accommodate almost 100 students.
“With our Not-for-profit status we can now more effectively raise additional funds to invest in learning tools and diversify our mission of bringing the Italian culture to New Jersey,” they said.
The class sizes are small and works with every age group and skill level. The school also offers private tutoring, but is preparing to expand their classes to include cooking and dancing lessons, as well as classes on Italian art and film.
“Italian plays an important role in the heritage and cultural experience of many in Northern New Jersey. For the high population of Italian-Americans living in the area, as well as native Italians drawn here by the vicinity of the metropolitan New York area and various headquarters that have made their homes here, the preservation of the language and cultural mores is an important means of creating and maintaining ties to a vibrant heritage, as well as infusing each community with the customs of a rich culture. And for those who are perhaps impassioned by the many gems that Italian culture has on offer, such as fine cuisine, literature, art, opera, or travel, the preservation of Italian is of paramount importance,” according to the school.
Italian School NJ has a team of nine teachers, who come from diverse backgrounds—some are native Italians, while others learned Italian as a second language. Many teachers studied in Italy, while others graduated in the U.S. and some specialize in teaching children or adults.
Italian School NJ also work alongside corporations that conduct business with Italians, as well as with Italian families that have been relocated to the United States and want to learn English.