ESOL class at East Boston APAC
If you ask Amy Lima, the director of the East Boston Area Planning Action Council (APAC), what program she always wanted to implement at her agency she will immediately say an English for Speakers of Other Languages class.

Thanks to stimulus funds that went to Action for Boston Community Development, which runs East Boston APAC, Lima got her wish.

"Before stimulus, [Boston ABCD] asked all of us, if we could do anything what would we want to do? I said an ESOL class," says Lima, a native of East Boston

ESOL class at East Boston APAC
who has been with the agency for 13 years. "There is such a need for it in this neighborhood."

East Boston APAC's ESOL class now has 12 students with 75 people on its waiting list. Its teacher Matthew Herrara, taught ESOL in Korea, China and at the Merrimack College. Lima says the theme of this ESOL class is English for employment. So far, five of the students who started the class unemployed, got jobs thanks to their improved English skills.

"Learning English opens doors for us," says Pedro Mozquesda, a student in the class who is from Mexico. "It helps us be independent."

ESOL teacher at East Boston APAC
Aurora Loayza from Columbia joined the class while she was in the process of studying for her citizenship test. She just passed and credits the class with her success. "It helped me prepare," she says.

"Thank god to the government that we have this program," says Hilda Salazar, another student in the class, who is from San Salvador. "We need it. The first language for us in the United States is English. That's why we need it to be good."

Lima agrees. "It's a great thing," says Lima. "It is amazing that we had the opportunity to do it. We don't often get the chance to do new things."