Ariana Hoyt first began to work with the immigrant community while attending Stanford. “In college, I worked for a tutoring program for Stanford janitors. It opened my eyes to see the janitor I worked with go through so much, yet still make an effort to improve his English.” This experience solidified her desire to work with immigrants and eventually led her to volunteer at IIBA.
As an ESL and Civics teacher, Ariana works with IIBA students who are preparing for their citizenship exams and interviews. When she first came to IIBA, Ariana was impressed by the students in her class, “I was in awe how much they already knew about U.S. civics. You could tell they had been studying for a long time.” Ariana connects with each student individually, to make sure they all receive the help they need to continue learning at a beneficial pace. “Some students need assistance with their language skills while others are still working on civics.”
Inspired by the students’ eagerness to learn, Ariana volunteers on a weekly basis. She encourages others to join in, too, “You do not need to be an expert about the citizenship process to volunteer at IIBA. The staff is supportive and will gladly provide guidance.” According to Ariana, she gains at least as much reward from volunteering as her students do from her assistance. For example, Ariana was honored to witness a client evolve from a dedicated student to a confident U.S. citizen. When he returned to class to celebrate passing his citizenship interview, he brought food and music, “serenading the class with songs they recognized.” Those moments of joy keep Ariana coming back to IIBA.