The New American Horizons Foundation seeks to expand opportunity for immigrants in the United States. To enable immigrants to participate fully in their new society, the Foundation focuses on making English as a Second Language courses more widely available and affordable.
The Foundation began in 2009 as a family’s philanthropic effort to foster the integration of immigrants into U.S. society. Our belief is that immigrants, with their energy, initiative, dreams, and hard work, have always been crucial to the development of our country. We value them as persons, and now more than ever we look to them, recognizing the tremendous contributions they can make to our society if given the chance to participate fully.
To become fully integrated into U.S. society, immigrants need to learn English. The Foundation has placed a priority on developing resources that will enable these newcomers to have more access to low-cost English as a Second Language classes. New American Horizons is able to fund its own projects and give away the resources it creates, for free or at the cost of materials.
The Foundation is based in Newtonville, Massachusetts. Contact us if you have questions or comments.
Why ESL for Immigrants?
The Foundation has identified the acquisition of English as crucial to the success of immigrants in the United States. It is a key to better jobs, education, and civic and political engagement. But these are the facts:
- As of the 2000 U.S. census, about 8.3 million working-age adults speak English not well or not at all (Wrigley et al, 2003).
- The demand for English as a Second Language classes far outpaces their availability. There is a serious shortage of ESL classes, with long waiting lists common all over the country (Tucker, 2006).
- Immigrants’ motivation to learn is tremendous, but they face many obstacles, not the least of which is the lack of affordable, accessible classes. Growing demand for adult ESL courses and losses of funding mean that trained ESL teachers are in short supply.
Comprehensive immigration reform may at some future point be enacted in the United States. Any of the proposals for a path to legal status for immigrants, let alone citizenship, will include the requirement to learn English. If the demand for free or low-cost ESL classes and well-trained teachers is great now, it will be overwhelming once immigration reform becomes a reality. In the present and even moreso in the future, the country needs more and better-trained ESL teachers.
For this reason, the New American Horizons Foundation is committing its efforts and resources to the training of adult ESL teachers. Our first project is the creation of a series of classroom videos, Teaching ESL to Adults: Classroom Approaches in Action.
Heide Spruck Wrigley, Elise Richer, Karin Martinson, Hitomi Kubo, and Julie Strawn. The Language of Opportunity: Expanding Employment Prospects for Adults with Limited English Skills. Policy Brief from the Center for Law and Social Policy, August, 2003.
James Thomas Tucker. The ESL Logjam: Waiting Times for Adult ESL Classes and the Impact on English Learners. Los Angeles, CA: NALEO Educational Fund National Office, 2006.