She still finds time to volunteer. "Right now the waiting list for English classes in East Boston is about nine to 10 months," says López. "So, when I volunteer, I sometimes joke with the women and tell them, 'You have to wait for it as if you're having another baby.' "


Francis Jeremías Morales, who moved from Baní in the Dominican Republic to Boston almost two years ago, is another ENB success story. He quickly completed coursework at the Boston Higher Education Resource Center and is now a full-time employee at Upham's Corner Health Center. Morales proudly reads his job title over the phone: PC support specialist.

"In all of the classes they teach you something practical," he says. "They even asked us what we wanted to get from it. I said I wanted to learn how to write cover letters for jobs, and [that's what] they taught us."

Still, for every success, there are many more who aren't reached. According to the Boston Foundation, thousands of immigrants in need of services don't get them because of work obligations, long waiting lists, or simply because they don't know the services exist.

"I see it all the time, they live in a bubble," says López. "They have created their own little world, they watch TV in Spanish, and they barely survive. But that's why we don't have an adequate quality of life. If we continue to do that, we will never progress from being dishwashers or janitors."

Marcela García can be reached at

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