Flushing resident helps immigrants adjust
by Jason Cohen
Mar 27, 2014 | 2270 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After working for large corporation for several years, Flushing resident Alexandra Ruiz felt like she needed a change. So in 2009 she started the nonprofit Immigrant Advancement Matters (IAM)

IAM provides support to the immigrant community through educational, legal, and personal advancement programs that encourage integration into American society. The organization is committed to helping immigrants acquire necessary language skills in order to improve their economic and social status.

IAM. provides affordable English as a second language classes, free conversation mixers and free workshops on various topics that are of interest to the immigrant community.

“IAM is about empowerment,” Ruiz said. “You can be anything.”

After doing research on how to run a nonprofit, Ruiz and her co-founders – her sisters - hit the ground running and began to spread the word about the organization through social media. They partnered with St. Michael’s School in Flushing and hold E.S.L. classes every Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. and recently branched out to Astoria.

So far, their impact has been tremendous, Ruiz said. Many people come to them because they are struggling to find a job, find it hard to communicate with their kids or simply want to adjust to life in America.

“My family and I were undocumented at one point, so it’s very dear to my heart,” she said. “Seeing young adults, moms and dads and senior citizens participating is inspiring.”

Ruiz said she is extremely proud of what she has created, but never imagined it would have such a powerful impact.

“It’s definitely been an amazing experience,” she said. “I love what I do. It’s a great opportunity to be part of something that’s unique and special.”

Ruiz said she is always trying to create new programs and on May 17, they will be holding an immigration resource fair at St. Georges Episcopal Church in Flushing. For information, visit www.iamnonprofit.org.

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