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Efrain Earns His Citizenship

The original spirit of Onward’s mission to provide immigrants with the tools and support they need to find a foothold in the United States continues on through our comprehensive adult education services. Through our weekly citizenship classes, immigrants seeking naturalization can find support as they weave their way through what can be a long and costly process.

It took Efrain nearly 20 years to become a US Citizen. He’d immigrated to the US from Mexico in 1979 and in 2000 began his work to attain citizenship. However, it was challenging to find a citizenship program that fit his busy schedule of working and taking care of his family. Efrain found himself continuously reenrolling and paying tuition, and yet still unprepared for the test.

“There are so few places to receive quality instruction like this.”

In 2017, Efrain renewed his mission to become a citizen of the country where he’d spent the majority of his adult life. Efrain began taking citizenship classes at Onward House with Mr. Tapia. The class structure allowed him the freedom to miss a class and still catch up without paying fees. Efrain found that Mr. Tapia also provided additional guidance and tips that made the difference, including: visiting the police station for records, interview attire, and additional documents to bring to support his application. As a bonus, students who took the test always returned to class to “pay it forward” and share their test experience.

Efrain began to volunteer at Onward’s food pantry as a way to give back to the organization for providing free Citizenship classes, which help approximately 30 individuals earn their citizenship each year.

Onward’s citizenship classes are funded by donations, to them, Efrain’s message is, “thank you so much for the support. There are so few places to receive quality instruction like this.”

Efrain passed his citizenship test in July 2018. When asked how it felt he replied, “I’m still learning, but I will feel like a citizen after the ceremony.” Once Efrain formally pledges his Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, Efrain plans to take ESL classes at Onward to improve his English. He plans to continue to volunteer at the food pantry.

Night of Bright Futures Masquerade Gala

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Get ready for our Night of Bright Futures Gala Saturday, March 9th, 2019 7 PM – 11 PM at Revel Fulton Market. Now featuring an exciting new theme – masquerade! Shine your dancing shoes and prepare for two musical performances, exciting raffles, and a lively auction all of a good cause. Individual tickets start at $150, get yours today!

Winter Newsletter 2018

The 2018 Onward Update Winter Newsletter is out, featuring our cover story about Daniela, and her journey to continue her education.

When Daniela saw Onward’s poster for GED classes, she knew it was time to take a step toward her goals. “It was my red flag to go back to school. I had no more excuses because the classes are so close, and as an adult I have more responsibility and can push myself to finish this.”

Continue reading “Winter Newsletter 2018”

BOOS & Brews

Come down to the Lagunitas taproom for a SCARILY good time Monday, October 29, 2018. Network with Chicago’s best and brightest at one of Chicago’s finest local brewery.

Enjoy your Lagunitas favorites like Lagunitas IPA, “Little Sumpin'” and many more. The event will be catered by Jarabe Mexican Street Food, featuring a build-your-own taco bar! Beer will be sold at retail price ($6), with 100% of drink proceeds benefiting Onward House there’s no excuse not to have a great time!

Tickets are $20 through October 26 and $30 at the door, so get your ticket today!

THE Basement at Lagunitas Brewing Company Chicago

2607 W 17th St, Chicago, IL 60608
5: 30 PM – 8:30 PM
October 29, 2018

Get your tickets here and don’t forget to share our event on Facebook!