Welcome to the website of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC). In November 1992, I opened The ILC to address the need for an intensive, English language program for the growing immigrant and refugee population in Massachusetts. We started with 60 students, three teachers and a secretary in three classrooms and one office. Today, we help more than 400 students at any given time, serve nearly 900 individuals a year and have a wait list of more than 500 applicants. We provide a continuum of academic programs for students illiterate in their native languages to those wanting to enter college and professional training programs. We have experienced tremendous growth and change over the years. We have gone from a three-room “schoolhouse” to an over 20,000 square-foot facility that accommodates nine classrooms, a 25-station IBM computer lab, a suite of offices, a staff of 32 and a dedicated group of volunteers.
What have not changed are the students and their desire to create a better life in America for themselves and their families. They remind me of my parents. I came to America at the age of three with my mother and father. We sailed into Ellis Island and settled in Malden. My parents learned English, my father worked and my mother took care of my brother and me. They created a good life for their family and contributed to this country. Like the immigrants who came before them, our students bring their knowledge, skills, entrepreneurial drive and culture to this country. Like my parents, they have overcome great adversity for a chance to become Americans with all its privileges, freedoms and responsibilities. When I see ILC students, I see my family and my life.
The ILC continues to help immigrants learn English so they can become successful workers, parents and community members. It is vital that the American public understands and appreciates the valuable contributions these individuals make to our country, communities, culture and the economy. I am reminded of this every day as I walk through the school and talk with our students about their goals and dreams.
The many accomplishments of The ILC are due to the entire ILC family: teachers, staff, students, Board members, donors and volunteers. I feel privileged to know and work with each one of them, and I thank them for their commitment and heartfelt support of our mission.
I hope you will visit our website often. We welcome your feedback and ideas on how we can work together to help immigrants and refugees achieve their dreams and build a better, stronger America.
Diane Portnoy, Founder and CEO