Information, Referral, and Assistance (IRA) is one of BIIN’s long-standing programs. But if you’ve never been to IRA, you may wonder what exactly happens there. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, people needing help with different kinds of issues can drop by BIIN. Spanish-speaking volunteers with expertise in various areas are there to listen, share information and help people take next steps. Here are some situations that IRA volunteers have recently helped with:
- Enrolling a student in high school in the middle of the school year. The student had recently arrived from another country, and neither student nor parent understood procedures for enrolling in U.S. schools. With help from an IRA volunteer, they were able to fill out the application online and get the necessary documents. The volunteer even offered to go to the school with them, to ensure that the enrollment went smoothly.
- Getting compensation for property damage: A young man’s car had been hit by another driver in an accident. An effort to get the other party’s insurance to cover it had not been successful, and the young man didn’t know what else could be done. An IRA volunteer helped him learn about and file papers with small claims court.
- Ensuring that citizens can vote: In recent weeks, several people have come in with questions about voting. Some simply needed to file a change of address form, while others were new citizens who were eager to exercise their right to vote for the first time. IRA volunteers helped each person understand when and where they could vote, and complete the forms.
Thanks to all of the IRA volunteers for providing guidance to our neighbors in need. This is one of the ways that BIIN works to ensure better access to legal, educational and social services for people in our community. If you speak Spanish and would like to join the IRA team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org