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LFD, Inc.'s MDPQFC Receives BIA Accreditation PDF Print E-mail

As a major achievement for the Lawrence Family Development, Inc.’s Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center and after months of work on a thorough application, Lawrence Family Development, Inc. (LFD) is awarded approval of its citizenship education and services by the United States Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). As the only organization with this recognition in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the recognition distinguishes the Family Center for its exemplary offerings in citizenship. Nationwide, there are 799 organizations with this federal distinction.

This recognition from the United States Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) gives LFD permission to practice immigration law before either the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and/or the Executive Office for Review (EOIR), which includes the immigration courts and the BIA. Recognized organizations help aliens apply for immigration benefits (including asylum, adjustment of status, and naturalization), represent them in immigration court, or assist them with appeals from immigration judge decisions. According to the BIA the achievements of the Family Center make it “worthy of recognition due to its trustworthy, free or low cost services.”

In addition to this outstanding organizational achievement, the Lawrence Family Development Inc.’s Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center’s Manager, Sandra Cepeda, earned until 2016 partial accreditation for her efforts leading LFD, Inc.’s citizenship education programs and for her work with clients on applications. According to Ralph Carrero, LFD, Inc.'s Executive Director, “We are delighted to have LFD, Inc. recognized by the BIA, and I commend our Family Center Manager, Ms. Cepeda, for her exemplary impact on the Merrimack Valley and her dedication to LFD, Inc.”

With these approvals, LFD, Inc./MDPQFC expands through recognition and accreditation the visibility of its citizenship education and other adult education services. The Family Center programs include Citizenship for New Americans classes and support, English-as-a-Second Language classes (levels 1-4), Basic and Intermediate Computer Skills Training, and other education services which are designed to strengthen families and build community. Specifically, the Lawrence Family Development, Inc.’s Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center’s Citizenship for New Americans Program is a key segment of the organization’s work.

Supporting the Center’s capacity for affordable and accessible citizenship services is funding support from multiple sources including: The Stevens Foundations, Clipper Ship Foundation, Massachusetts Department of Elementary Education/Title 1 and the City of Lawrence/CDBG. The Stevens Foundations made a $25,000 award in April 2013, which was followed in July 2013 with awards of $10, 000 from the Clipper Ship Foundation and then another award of $10,000 from the City of Lawrence with CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funding. All of these awards are applied to administrative and instructional staff salaries which result in very reasonable fees for classes for new Americans. The Family Center has offered citizenship services for almost 20 years to Lawrence’s new Americans with ESL classes, citizenship preparation and applications as well as computer literacy classes for over 600 adult students each year.

Founded in 1995, the Lawrence Famly Development, Inc.'s Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center is located at 404 Haverhill Street, Lawrence MA and offers citizenship services thoughout the calendar year and instructional classes in the fall and spring semesters.

 

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