June 20 marks World Refugee Day, a day near and dear to the heart of HOPE Literacy. HOPE Literacy seeks to empower churches to fight low-literacy, poverty, and isolation by establishing classes that teach language and literacy with the love of Christ, resulting in transformed lives and a healthier society. Newcomers to our nation desperately need language and literacy help, and they also need to be a part of a community. They reap the benefits of our programs, and they seek to invest in their new homeland. When our students finally have naturalization interviews and pass their citizenship tests, they become the proudest Americans to ever wave the stars and stripes.
Consider Irina and Igor. They are a couple from Belarus who attended more than one semester of citizenship with HOPE Literacy because they enjoyed the fellowship. They soon became informal co-teachers--facilitating lessons, sharing study strategies, and encouraging others. After they secured their U.S. citizenship in 2018, they returned to future sessions to explain to students what their interview and testing experience was like. The couple was able to paint a real-life experience of the process. Irina and Igor continue to encourage citizenship students and are proud citizens of the US, enjoying American life with their grandchildren.