LOS ANGELES – The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, will be launching its first ESL/Civics classes beginning on April 8, 2013.
APALC is partnering with the Los Angeles Public Libraries, which is providing space for the classes. There will be two courses offered: one in bilingual Korean/English and the other in bilingual Tagalog/English. These eight-week classes are free and will take place at the Pio Pico library in Koreatown and the Echo Park library in Historic FilipinoTown.
The classes will help Asian immigrants increase their English language skills as well as prepare for the naturalization interview – a process that can be daunting for immigrants who struggle with English.
“These classes are crucial for the immigrants we serve to ensure their success in the naturalization process,” said Nasim Khansari, Citizenship Network Manager at APALC. “With adult education being one of the first programs to get cut from the California budget, we’re seeing the need for adult education continue to grow, yet the services are not there.”
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, applicants are required to have a third-grade level of English skill and be able to read and write in basic English in order to pass the naturalization interview. This requirement is a significant challenge for Asian immigrants, many of whom struggle with literacy in their own language.
Stewart Kwoh, APALC executive director and president, emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive citizenship program. “This will be the first time that we’re offering citizenship classes to our community,” said Kwoh. “For APALC, we are invested in the success of our clients and community members, and we felt that we needed to offer these classes to help community members succeed in their naturalization efforts.” With the increase in need for ESL/Civics classes, APALC hopes to classes in other Asian languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese.
At the ESL/Civics classes, students will have the opportunity to work with instructors that can provide assistance in-language. Students will have access to textbooks to study for the 100 civics questions they will be required to know for the naturalization interview, as well as receive study materials including APALC’s Citizenship Workbook and DVD which outlines the naturalization process and reviews the civics questions. Anyone interested in attending the classes will be required to register; 30 spaces are available in this session. Classes begin on Monday April 8thfrom 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the respective library branches and will be offered once a week on Mondays.
The Pio Pico library branch is at 694 S. Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005. The Echo Park branch is at 1410 W. Temple Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026.
For more information on the ESL/Civics classes please contact APALC at 888-349-9695 for assistance in English/Tagalog or 800-867-3640 for assistance in Korean.
For more information on citizenship, visit: http://apalc.org/what-we-do/direct-services/immigration-and-citizenship.