Alums and hosts addressed the empowering effects of the model.
Representative spoke to the value of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition’s New American Integration Program (NAIP) at a talk on December 8. Titled The New American Integration Program: A Successful Model, the panel was the fourth and final installment of MIRA’s Fall Speaker Series. The discussion was led by Christine Ntagengwa, senior program director of NAIP, and moderated by Suzanne Metro, program director of NAIP. Speakers included Joan Abbot, assistant director of BEST Hospitality Training Center, Huiling Chen, a host site supervisor and program manager at BEST, and Marlene Rojas, a NAIP alum.
NAIP was established in 2011, through a partnership between MIRA and English for New Bostonians. According to MIRA, it was created with the aim of “increasing community organizations’ capacity to support immigrant integration.” AmeriCorps members are placed in immigrant and refugee serving organizations across the Commonwealth, where they support immigrants “gain economic stability and more fully participate in our society.” They accomplish this by helping the people they serve learn English, apply for citizenship, participate in job readiness training, and access community services.
“At BEST, we teach English and citizenship, and we help people get quality jobs,” said Abbot. “…But with the NAIP AmeriCorps program, that work is just magnified. We are able to reach more people and do it better and more effectively and efficiently.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.