Citizenship, life skills classes impact lives of immigrants, refugees

Lake Highlands is home to a vast number of refugees and immigrants — we know this anecdotally, based on stories we’ve written and people we’ve met in the neighborhood. Statistically, according to the DFW International Community Alliance, 44 percent of North Texans are “new Americans”. The organization holds life skills classes and citizenship classes here in Lake Highlands, at the Audelia library.

The sessions are in high demand: more than 480 people have signed up for the citizenship classes and students come from as far as an hour or more away weekly.

Richland college student and Berkner grad Eva Calvario, 19, teaches the Wednesday night citizenship class at the Audelia library. Among her 130 students is her own mother, Maria Elena Calvario.

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Eva Calvario, 19, teaches a citizenship class that includes her mom.

Say class organizers, “We’re very proud to be helping so many hard-working legal residents become U.S. citizens so they can vote in the upcoming elections.”

DFW International Community Alliance’s Life Skills classes for women  — also held at the Audelia Library — teach financial literacy, women’s health, computer literacy, riding DART, shopping on a budget, getting a library card and driver’s license, job preparedness, ESL classes, GED and college scholarship information, domestic violence awareness and reading DFW maps to immigrants and refugees from Rwanda, Congo, Somalia, Peru, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Mexico, El Salvador and Ethiopia, to name a few.

Recently, in an Audelia Library ceremony — a group of women graduated from the Life Skills class.

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A student names Adna receives her Life Skills Initiative for Refugee and Immigrant Women graduation certificate.

 

DFW International Community Alliance students and volunteers celebrate the completion of the summer life skills class.

 

Several Burmese immigrants and refugees prepare to graduate the summer life skills class at a Lake Highlands ceremony.

The DFW International Community Alliance’s mission is to “build mutual understanding and respect by linking diverse international cultural communities.”

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