Oct. 21, 2021 – A partnership between San Antonio ISD’s adult and community education department and Catholic Charities was awarded a significant grant from the Department of Homeland Security that will ultimately make 200 students new United States citizens. The grant is offered only to non-profit organizations, so the partnership gives both organizations a powerhouse way to help people – from the family services side of Catholic Charities to the educational side of SAISD Adult Education.
“It enabled us both to qualify for the grant and utilize what we do best,” said Darlene Volz, director for Adult and Community Education at SAISD.
The grant awards Catholic Charities $250,000 to help pay for legal assistance, citizenship tests, training of staff members for the naturalization process, and assistance with financial resources to SAISD families. A portion of the grant, totaling almost $90,000, will be used by San Antonio ISD for the educational portion of the process, including teachers, supplies, technology, and other instructional needs.
Earlier this year, Volz began looking for opportunities to help adult education students in the district.
“Not only would this benefit eligible immigrant families in education, health, and future productivity gains, but it would also greatly benefit our U.S. economy by as much as $1.7 trillion, making us more competitive in the global economy,” Volz said. “I have always thought of America as a melting pot, where all are welcome to start a new life and have the opportunity of a better life by working hard.”
Classes last 10-12 weeks. Four classes will be offered every quarter with the first class set to begin Nov. 2. Those interested in signing up may visit www.saisd.net/ace or they can email Volz directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes will be held in-person and online, with in-person learning to take place at Catholic Charities and the Margarita Huantes Learning Center.
To help students get registered, Catholic Charities has a direct connection to immigrants in San Antonio, Volz said. They will help by referring those needing a U.S. citizenship to SAISD. Twenty community partners will also begin sharing the information so they can spread the word and refer students to SAISD.
Students must register and test to enroll, and they must be 18 years of age or older and cannot be a current high school or college student.
The funding is part of the fiscal year 2021 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program that began Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2023.
About Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio
The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide for the needs of our community through selfless service under the sign of love. Catholic Charities serves all people, regardless of race, religion, or national origin, from birth to natural death, through a network of comprehensive programs that include basic needs, family and children’s services, legal services, refugee resettlement, counseling, pregnant and parenting education, and senior services with the goal of providing basic needs, strengthening the vulnerable, nurturing families, and promoting self-sufficiency. For more information, visit www.ccaosa.org or call (210) 222-1294.