When Stephen Filios is not teaching Foundations of Science for Brigham Young University Idaho’s online program, hevolunteers in IIBA’s citizenship preparation classes. “I have always had an interest in working with people from different cultures,” says Stephen, so he stepped up to teach IIBA’s San Francisco class in the Tenderloin, attended primarily by Arab women.
The students’ eagerness to learn stood out to Stephen right away. “They were focused and ready to study,” he recalls. Over the past three months Stephen has built a strong rapport with the students, discussing recent news and events before the start of class. As a result, the students have become a tight-knit group, at ease with each other, laughing and joking as they learn.
“Stephen has brought his experience as an adjunct professor, along with his depth of knowledge about United States history and government, to the classroom. He is very sensitive to the cultural differences within the classroom,” said IIBA citizenship instructor Sam Bianco. Further, Stephen deepens the students’ learning by going beyond the basics to explain circumstances leading to historical events.
Stephen has done an admirable job preparing IIBA learners to achieve their dreams of becoming United States citizens. Recently he jumped at the opportunity to lead a second class at Turk Street, allowing IIBA to expand its services in the Tenderloin.
“Volunteering gives you the opportunity to help other people and make great friendships,” Stephen says. IIBA urges anyone motivated to give back to the community and support immigrants to join the ranks of volunteers. What better way to demonstrate the true values of America than to help immigrants secure their lives with citizenship?