Update on BIIN Programs for Spring 2022

Published by Program Manager on

Update on BIIN Programs for Spring 2022

BIIN is jumping into 2022 with a full slate of programs.  Despite the many challenges posed by the on-going coronavirus pandemic, BIIN volunteers are working hard to maintain the organization’s three long-established programs:

  • the Information / Referral / Assistance (IRA) program: offering individualized guidance in seeking local services and resolving specific issues

  • citizenship classes: helping people prepare for the naturalization exam and interview

  • English classes: helping people learn and practice conversational English for many purposes:  naturalization interviews, work, education, family needs or other goals

Here, we provide an update on when and how each program is operating in spring 2022, as well as links to the places where interested individuals can get more information, register for classes or sign up to volunteer.

IRA program

The IRA program provides individualized guidance for people who need to get information, understand procedures, prepare documents, and obtain referrals to educational, legal and social services in the wider community. 

Anyone in need of assistance can stop by the BIIN office, at 2500 S. College Avenue in Bryan, on the first and third Saturday of each month, from 2 to 4 pm.  Please wear a mask and be prepared to observe CDC social distancing guidelines.  People seeking help from the IRA program can also leave a voice message with their name and phone number at the BIIN office (979-393-8228), and an IRA volunteer will get back to you.

The IRA program is looking for new volunteers who are willing to be trained and participate in the team’s work, on first and/or third Saturdays in person and/or doing follow-up work remotely. Given the nature of this program, IRA volunteers must be bilingual (Spanish/English) or have special skills like being a licensed social worker or attorney.  If you would like to serve as an IRA volunteer, please reach out to BIIN Director Jaimi Washburn at info@brazosimmigration.com . The IRA team hopes that with a few more regular volunteers trained to work with them, they can expand the program’s walk-in hours and remote capabilities in 2022. 

Citizenship classes

BIIN’s citizenship classes will resume on Saturday January 29, and will be offered online (via Zoom) for the entire 10-week cycle.  Two classes are offered on Saturdays:  one in English from 10 am to noon, and one in Spanish from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.  In a typical class, a volunteer instructor gives a presentation or lecture for the first portion, and then participants apply or practice what they have learned, working through the naturalization exam’s “100 questions” in small groups led by one or more volunteers.  Participants in these classes are highly motivated and really appreciate having the chance to interact with volunteers. No Spanish is needed to volunteer for the English version of these classes. You can read more about the online citizenship classes here

To sign up as a volunteer for spring 2022 citizenship classes, follow the directions on our website. Before each class that you have signed up for is going to meet, you will receive via email the Zoom link and more information about that day’s class. If you need help with Zoom or have other questions, the interns working with each class will help you. 

To register for citizenship classes as a participant, interested people can complete the online registration form on the BIIN website, or simply reach out to BIIN via Facebook, phone (979-393-8228) or email (carolina@brazosimmigration.com).  Classes start soon, so don’t wait to register!

English classes

BIIN continues to offer Conversational English classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings, starting January 31st.  Thanks to an expanded crew of volunteer teachers, we are able to offer instruction at several levels this spring. 

Given the challenges of the pandemic, most of our English classes continue to meet online.  However, the Level 1 class is being offered in person this spring to a limited number of students, with social distancing and masks required.  Level 2 and 3 classes are being offered via Zoom. All classes use the English for Everyone textbook as the basis for the curriculum.

Students who participated in Conversational English classes in fall 2021 were notified in December and given priority in spring 2022 registration.  Then enrollment opened up to others, and most classes reached their enrollment limit quickly.  Anyone who is interested in joining these classes can reach out by email (carolina@brazosimmigration.com) or phone (979-393-8228).  As needed, waiting lists are established and we will notify prospective students when space becomes available.

While each class is led by an experienced volunteer teacher, students really appreciate being able listen, speak and practice using English with native speakers.  You do not need to speak Spanish or be a trained teacher to volunteer!  You sign up, show up and follow the guidance of our experienced volunteer teachers. 

To sign up as a volunteer for Conversational English classes, follow the directions on our website.  Once you are in the Volgistics system, you may sign up to help on specific dates.  A day ahead of time, you will receive via email the Zoom link and more information about each day’s class. If you need help with Zoom or have other questions, the interns working with each class will help you.  Thanks to everyone whose commitment, generosity and flexibility keeps BIIN’s programs running!

Categories: Updates