Innovation Grant Opportunity To Attend the 2019 Families Learning Conference

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Indo-American Center

Listing Last Update: November 7, 2018

Location

6328 N. California
Chicago, IL 60659
www.indoamerican.org

Primary Contact

Renuka Sharma

(773) 973-4444 Ext:104

rsharma@indoamerican.org

Educational services

  • Reading and writing
  • English language
  • How to use Computers/Technology
  • Volunteer at a Program
  • Other
  • Citizenship Classes

Instruction Type

  • Classroom
  • Computer

File uploads

Program Overview

The Indo-American Center (IAC) was founded in 1990 by a group of Indian immigrants in response to the needs of Chicago's growing South Asian immigrant population. The founders of IAC were individuals who had worked hard to attain success in America, and they were driven by the desire to help others adjust to a new country far from home.

The Indo-American Center (IAC) was founded in 1990 by a group of Indian immigrants in response to the needs of Chicago's growing South Asian immigrant population. The founders of IAC were individuals who had worked hard to attain success in America, and they were driven by the desire to help others adjust to a new country far from home.

Other programs include: Citizenship class, computer literacy, workforce development prog, civic engagement, health literacy, community navigators

Seniors social hour, Public Benefits, Immigration consultation

Mission Statement

The Indo American Center (IAC) addresses the needs of South Asian immigrants as well as people from more than thirty nations the world over. IAC provides services that facilitate their adjustment, integration, and friendship with the wider society, nurture their sense of community, and foster appreciation for the diversity of culture and heritage.

Hours of operation: M to Sat 10am-5pm

Cost info: fees only applicable to immigration consulting

Student and Volunteer Success Stories

Upon her first few weeks of arriving in America, Bishnu Neupane faced a few checkpoints
to achieve: helping out her community as she did in Nepal, securing a healthy
environment for her daughter, and improving her English. Through extensive
outreach at local fast food chains, she saw an advertisement at the Dunkin
Donuts she worked at and registered with the adult literacy program, in which
she progressed quickly with her tutor, Daniel. After three months of learning
English, she enrolled her daughter in IAC's after school program in the fall of
2017 where her daughter received ample homework help and stable social skills,
Bishnu was introduced to the community navigator program where she developed
leadership and effective communication skills to make powerful KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
presentations. She earned $500 through the community navigator program from the
City of Chicago and is an admired English language learner and honorable
employee at the local Dunkin Donuts.

"I am a pre-med student, but I didn't want that to be my entire life, so when I heard the IAC needed volunteers to teach ESL, I thought it would be great for me. I joined thinking that it would be a break for me, something different than science, which it is, but it's also so much more. At IAC, I am able to help give people a voice who normally don't have one. I love seeing their faces when they understand a new concept or open up about a personal opinion. I get to teach them about American culture, but also learn about so many of their cultures and countries. My students' perspectives have changed the way I look at our society and show that we as humans are not as different as we believe we are. It's a cliche that students sometimes teach more than the teacher, but it is true. I truly enjoy my weekly classes at the IAC and I hope to continue them for as long as I can."

--Neha Sharma, volunteering since July 2014

Yakha came to the Indo-American Center in fall 2013. Her two main goals when emigrating from Chechnya, a Russian Republic, with her two young children and Afghani husband, she wanted to learn English, find work, and put her children into good high schools. Speed up to the present, Yakha is now part owner of delicious Bamyan Kabob at California and Lincoln Ave, putting her children through NEIU, and enrolled in Citizenship classes. Three Cheers for Yakha!

Program’s Demographics/Metrics

IAC serves a large and often overlooked segment

of the South Asian population consisting of recent, extremely low to low income
immigrants, including individuals from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal,
Bhutan, Sri Lanka and most recently the Rohingya people which come from
Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. We are seeing a growing number of individuals
from places like Syria, Iraq, Jordan in the Middle East, Albania, Bosnia in
Europe, Colombia, Mexico in Latin America, and Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia
in the African continent. All of IAC adult learners are immigrants or first
generation Americans and come from families with limited English language
skills and limited experience with the American culture and education system.

Based upon 2011 data by the Scientific Learning
Corporation, approximately two million immigrants come to the U.S. each year
seeking jobs and better lives. Approximately 50 percent of them have low
literacy levels and lack high school education and English language skills,
which greatly limits their access to job training, college, and citizenship
attainability. Many of the clients IAC serves come from the West Ridge
community as well as the neighboring communities of Albany Park and Rogers
Park. According to 2014 American Community Survey data, there are approximately
19,786 foreign-born residents in the West Ridge area. Specifically, South Asian
ethnic groups make up over 32% of the total population in West Ridge. Of that
total 38,788, 75% are adults. According to the data compiled in 2012 by the
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), over 25% of those residing
within West Ridge earn a household income of less than $25,000 a year. Most of
the clients that IAC serves fall into the low income category, and limited
English proficiency greatly limits the economic prospects of these individuals.

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Program Status:
Active