Here are just a few stories from ENB-funded English classes that exemplify what we know to be the true immigrant experience — people who are strong, bold, and driven.
Lucio began taking citizenship classes with his wife a couple of years ago. While she made tremendous progress and quickly passed her citizenship exam, he struggled with his English. Last year, he enrolled in a basic English class as well as the citizenship classes. After almost two years of combined classes, he became a citizen in December 2017. (From St. Mark Community Education Program)
Diana came to the United States from Colombia in 2015. She joined her husband who was already living here. She had to leave her daughter, along with her grandmother, behind in Colombia. Diana was determined to learn English, get a job, and make a better life for them. She began in Level I, and as she became more comfortable with the vocabulary, she was able to get her first job cleaning tables in a restaurant. As her English improved, so did her positions. She impressed the owners of the restaurant and was promoted to “busser,” to food runner and then to, food expediter, which was a supervisory position. In that position she sometimes had to speak directly with customers in English. Diana said she was slowly becoming less self-conscious of her English and less afraid to speak. Diana felt confident enough to apply for a job at Logan Airport for Copa Airlines. Her interview was very intimidating, but she remembered some of the practices from class. “I looked in his [the interviewer’s] eyes and answered all the personal questions.” As she was on the way home from the interview, she received a call on her cell phone. The manager said, “Diana welcome to Copa Airlines!” Diana says that it is a dream job, and she works hard everyday to learn the computer system and new vocabulary. She loves her job and feels very proud. Her mother and daughter will be able to fly from Colombia for free. In addition, Diana is taking citizenship classes and hopes to be a citizen soon. She believes that her daughter will be able to come and live permanently in the United States this year. (fromEast Boston Ecumenical Community Council program)
As she was on the way home from the interview, she received a call on her cell phone. The manager said, “Diana welcome to Copa Airlines!” Diana says that it is a dream job, and she works hard everyday to learn the computer system and new vocabulary. She loves her job and feels very proud.
Immigrants — over 800,000 in Massachusetts alone — bring their dreams, their grit, and their determination to America every year. It’s that rich diversity, we believe, that makes America great. In this past year, ENB’s work with immigrants — offering English language classes that are gateways to a new life in America — has, perhaps, meant more than ever before.