Meet Sai Lakshmi Balaji

Behind every great story, there is an inspiration that kicks it all off. The focus on these posts, personally, has been on education or lack thereof for new Americans. The story was inspired by Sai, a woman that works at Sam’s Club and was mentioned very early on in the first story. When I initially spoke with her, I had no idea how big of a piece she would have within the grand scheme of things. However, during our first meeting, she pointed out that a major problem with immigrants coming over to the U.S. was the lack of education they were getting in their home country or the fact that they were not getting proper education here, which led to dropping out of school. While some people can thrive and become successful without education, most need it and it is a very important aspect in ones life because it can lead to better opportunities and help build a stable future.  Continue reading

Literacy Green Bay

When taking a look back, the problem that these new Americans face, according to the statistics shown, is they are not getting the proper education needed. Whether that is due to dropping out of school, bad teaching habits, or just not getting the right education from their homeland, it is very apparent that something has to be changed. One thing pointed out was the fact that the teachers had to have a really good understanding of how to teach new Americans the curriculum in a way that would be understood. However, this cannot necessarily be the full answer to the problem because every teacher has a different teaching style and approach in the classroom. When these students are having a difficult time in school, they resort to dropping out. Even after dropping out, they still need to have ways to get properly educated for life outside of the classroom, especially if they need to learn English.  Continue reading

Mr. Italy was Born in Erie

PatPat Cappabianca is a man that has done many things in his life, and been many things in his life. Now 83, Pat has accomplished more than he ever thought was possible. He has been a teacher, a councilman, a principle, administrator and civil servant among other things. He has seen many things and been many places in his life but no matter where he goes you can always bet where he’s going to end back up. In his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania.

As Pat grew up the Great Depression was coming to a close and World War II was just beginning. He still remembers where he was when Pearl Harbor was bombed when he was 7 years old. “My parents would tell me as I grew older that things were very tough then [the depression], but the Italians always managed.”

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The International Institute of Erie Gives Hope

“The International Institute of Erie really helps people, you should give them a call”, said Pat Cappabianca a retired teacher, administrator and former city councilman.

For those of you that don’t know the International Institute of Erie, or the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, or if that’s too much of a mouthful you can call it USCRI for short. The USCRI have for over 100 years have “advanced the rights and lives of those who have lost or left their homes.”

What they mean by that is imagine for a second if you would your sleeping in your bed your safe place the one place that everyone should feel secure and instead of waking up to your alarm clock everyday you wake up to the sound of gun shots. They keep getting closer and closer with every passing day. One day it gets too close and you have to go and you come over to America, no money, no family, nowhere to live. USCRI gives these people many things but above all they give these people hope.

60 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced meaning uprooted. Less than 0.1 percent of those 60 million people will get the chance to start a new life. That’s where USCRI comes in.

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Coming to the U.S.A by Taylor Buffington

Many New Americans leave wherever it is they are from and come to the United States in search of a better life. New Americans come to the United States from all over the world. Some of them even come from as close as our neighboring countries like Canada and Mexico. There are some situations when New Americans come to the United States and they have no idea how to speak the language or what our customs are like. As someone with a small learning disability I have learned that learning some things can be rather difficult. I can only imagine how these New Americans feel trying to learn all kinds of new customs.

According to, there is a high level of violence in Juarez Mexico. Due to that high level of violence many families are moving to El Paso, Texas which is right over the Mexican border in order to get away. Granted these people come to the United States in hopes of possibly having a better life. When an immigrant comes to the United States they can’t speak English and therefore can’t communicate with others at all. In many schools around the country there are students who don’t speak English very well and it seems as though they just can’t fit in no matter how hard they try. Many people would feel terrible for those kids because there is nothing that can be done to fix those kind of problems. However, there are students and teachers who really want to help those students.

English is quite possibly one of the hardest languages to learn it can take a lot of time to learn it. Knowing the right method is a good thing to know when trying to accomplish a task. There are many different kinds of methods a person could use. Some New American adults still attend school to try to get a better job and a better life for their family. Life tends to throw people curveballs quite a bit. It can be assumed that these New Americans do get quite distracted by certain things. One of the last reasons for it being so hard to learn a new language is because it is very expensive to learn. Taking classes can cost a lot of money. The Rosetta Stone program which is another way of learning a new language which can be quite expensive. It cost $399. The Rosetta Stone is a decent way of learning a new language, but it seems with it there are very limited options of what you can learn. There are many reasons for why New Americans are not able to learn English.


One case featuring New Americans that is a little more local is happening in Erie Pennsylvania at one of the high schools. According to the East High School web site, there are 900 students in the high school and close to 300 of those students are English language learners. Last semester I did an internship that took place at east high school. In the main entrance they had maps of many countries from around the world. I was curious as to why all of those maps were there. Later I learned east high has a very diverse group of students.

New Americans lack of English seems to be one of the top problems. Language barrier is definitely a problem. It is even seen today among some of the professional athletes that come from other countries who need a translator to help them speak English in there interviews because they have a difficult time trying to speak or they just can’t do it.

The Erie public school systems offer some programs to help English language learners. This is a good way of learning. The main goal of the English language learners program is to help the students be successful in an English speaking environment. The students are provided an instructor to help develop skills in things like mathematics, science, speaking, reading and listening.

Some of the people to talk to in this scenario about the schools are the people who work in the Erie school systems. Some of the things to ask them about are the kinds of programs that are available for the students who are English Language Learners.

Somehow someway New Americans are going to have try to make the best of what they can with the language they speak. Coming here to The United States is quite challenging. I wish for the best in all of the New Americans in the United States.

Being a New American has a lot of challenges just like everything else in life. Coming to a world where everything is unfamiliar is quite the challenge for any human being on the planet. Many of the New Americans don’t come to The United States by choice. Hopefully there are some ways in the future to help make coming to The United States easier and better.

Welcoming Migrants with Open (Fire)arms


The constant thought of potentially being murdered is not something most Americans think about. But beyond our borders, this paranoia runs through the minds of many. Imagine living in a city where there is a chance of being disintegrated by bombs while shopping at your local market. By the way, these bombs are bring supplied from the United States military, and the people responsible live in the country right next to you.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a citizen living south of our border who constantly lives in fear from local cartel gangs. These cartel gangs specialize in brutal killings and recently directed their anger towards authorities. Groups of police officers are being ambushed by thugs with machine guns and police helicopters are swatted out of the sky like gnats.

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