Friends: It is with a great deal of pride in our organization that we announce that Literacy Solutions NY, Inc. has been awarded the Office for New Americans Opportunity Center (ONA) for Rockland County. There are 27 ONAs in New York State, funded by the New York State Department of State. We are pleased to welcome Andrea Fermin, LCSW, as the ONA Program Manager. She will work with Anne Carey-Colorado, who will assume the duties of Communications Manager for the ONA is addition to her role as the Communications Manager for our Haverstraw Literacy Zone Family Welcome Center.
The ONA consists of four “pillars”: the first is English for Speakers of Other Languages instruction. The second is assistance with the naturalization process, from help in filling out the citizenship application to legal counsel and representation. This includes citizenship drives at various locations in Rockland accompanied by legal counseling sessions for those whose applications may be more complex.
The third is the offering of community information sessions on such varied issues as consumer education and financial literacy, to Common Core for parents. The fourth is entrepreneurship training – starting and building your own business.
Our partners in the ONA are the Empire Justice Center which will provide an immigration attorney for legal consultation days and citizenship drives; the Small Business Development Corporation and the Entrepreneurship Assistance Program who will lead the entrepreneurship seminars. The Rockland Workforce Development Board will be a great asset to the entrepreneurship pillar. Rockland Community College Haverstraw Center has offered office space for the ONA program manager; and the Salvation Army in Spring Valley will host the inaugural ESOL classes. Haverstraw Center will continue to be the home base for the HLZ and, as the ONA program progresses, ONA activities will be held at there as well.
The ONA is a county-wide program. As such, we will be seeking the assistance of libraries and similar entities to host citizenship drives and legal counseling days in their communities.
Ultimately we see the ONA as the last step on our students’ journeys to full participation in American society – from new immigrant to citizen. We look forward to welcoming many more!