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.
During the presidential election, IIBA client Sarah A. closely followed the nominees' stances on immigration. Sensing unrest, she began the citizenship application process. The daughter of Yemeni parents, Sarah lived in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom before moving to the U.S., where she lives with her husband and children, who are U.S. citizens.
When Maria moved to the United States her main focus was ensuring that her children had the opportunity to attend high school and college. Maria patiently waited 20 years in the U.S. before having the chance to apply for U.S. citizenship. This required her to not only overcome her illiteracy, but also learn how to speak English.
“I’ve always had a love for language. I’ve always liked working with people from different cultures and backgrounds,” says Anthony Moss. In his 11 years as IIBA’s lead citizenship instructor, Anthony has done exactly that, teaching an average of 400 citizenship students a year.
“As a taxi driver, every day I pick up customers from different countries, who share their stories with me. This is very similar to my experience as a student in IIBA’s citizenship classes. I look at my classmates from Ukraine, Mexico, and China, and think, ‘Wow this is the United States,’” says Shodi.