BIIN Year Review
BIIN Year Review
As BIIN wraps up this past academic year, there are some updates and accomplishments we had throughout the year we would like to share. After a few years of the pandemic affecting our programs, in the Fall of 2022, BIIN welcomed two new Americorp members who would manage and coordinate two of our main programs: the Information, Referral, and Assistance program managed by Tania Barrios, and the ESL program managed by Viviana Castillo. Tania and Viviana, both Texas A&M students, hit the ground running in the middle of an administrative transition in which former director Jaimi Washburn was relocating. With little time, Jaimi was able to leave them in the hands of active volunteers in the organization to help them troubleshoot when needed. BIIN also had a team of five interns who, with the guidance of Tania and Viviana, would work as a team from September to December managing the ESL, IRA, Citizenship, Marketing, and Outreach programs.
Within the first couple of months of having more office presence after Covid, BIIN was able to double IRA cases in no time, reaching more and more of our community members. BIIN was also able to register over 70 new ESL students, with the help of a partnership with the ESC Region 6 Adult Education Program, and successfully run Citizenship classes with 15 prospective naturalization candidates. BIIN was also able to have a more active presence in the community by attending 8 Outreach events and having an active social media presence with the help of our Marketing intern.
In January of 2023, BIIN was able to welcome a new director and a few new interns to join the team and to fill in the positions left by past interns, but also to fill some new positions that opened. This allowed the BIIN team to divide and conquer. By having some interns who continued with us through the academic year and our Americorp members who served for a full year, we were able to avoid turnover and allow our clients the comfort they have gained with the current interns and Americorp members. The minimal turnover has helped our retention in our programs tremendously–so much so that BIIN is now outgrowing their facilities, having programming six days out of the week.
This semester, we had students from our Fall 2022 Citizenship class come back to let us know that they had already applied for citizenship and had gone through an interview. BIIN staff and interns were able to accompany them in their ceremony of such a big accomplishment. We have seen that ESL students have shown much improvement in their English abilities through the end-of-the-year progress testing, and IRA has been able to close hundreds of cases.
This summer, BIIN will attempt to bring back their ESL and Citizenship classes during the summer session after some time of not holding these classes during the summer. During the first month of summer, we have welcomed new interns and have focused on training and planning for the next academic year. Citizenship classes have started for the summer with 15 students registered and actively attending class to submit their naturalization applications. BIIN will hold a registration for ESL classes on June 26th for new students and classes will start on July 10th. IRA clinics will continue throughout the whole summer, welcoming the community to our facilities for assistance.
BIIN’s hope in the next few months and years is to continue expanding and reaching more of the immigrant community.
Thank you to Viviana for writing this story.