Littleton Immigrant Resources Center
Littleton Immigrant Resources Center (LIRC), a Littleton, Colorado-based CLINIC affiliate, is making extensive advancements in the area of immigrant integration. Led by Petula McShiras, this city government funded program emphasizes the importance of community connections in its work to encourage integration. The LIRC offers a cultural exchange between volunteer mentors and immigrants to foster inclusiveness and to encourage an integrated community. The program is so successful that LIRC’s approach to integration won The Migration Policy Institute’s prestigious E Pluribus Unum award in 2009. The LIRC has since received recognition and funding from other organizations.
The LIRC emerged from a gathering of seventy Littleton residents in 2004. Their aim was to find better ways to reach newcomers, as increasing numbers of immigrants were making Littleton their home. The Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative (LI3) was formally established. A year later the initiative received a four year grant and moved into the Bemis Library. Since then the LIRC has had a full-time coordinator. In 2009 the management of the program was transferred to the City Manager and City Council. The LIRC now belongs to the division of Human Services in the City of Littleton, but the program still operates according to its own set of objectives. The LIRC has kept its base at the library, which has proven beneficial to exposing its services to both potential participants and volunteers.
The LIRC offers a comprehensive menu of services where immigrants can access an array of resources. Through the Language Partners Program, trained volunteers offer one-on-one tutoring with the aim of improving the student’s confidence and English communication skills. The Resource Center offers advice on matters related to employment, health care and education. A large part of LIRC’s services are centered on its citizenship program. Immigrants can receive help with all aspects of the citizenship process including legal services, as the LIRC has BIA accredited representatives on staff. In addition, the LIRC promotes self-learning by having three IPADS with various Apps and links available for participants to use to improve their English and study for their citizenship tests.
The LIRC works to measure the impact of their services on a participant’s integration by emailing surveys to alumni of the program. The aim is also to examine the impact citizenship acquisition has on a participant’s integration.
Today the LIRC functions as a community center where residents are given the opportunity to reach the newcomers and support a two way integration process. To learn more about the LIRC, please email Program Supervisor Petula McShiras at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have an integration initiative you would like CLINIC to highlight, please contact program manager Leya Speasmaker, Integration Program Manager, at email@example.com