TAMPA, Fla — The motto on Thursday nights on the University of South Florida's campus is "back to the basics," as people, both young and old learn the ins and outs of English as part of their immigration journey.
It's all thanks to a nonprofit called "NICERFL."
"I'm an immigrant myself and I always thought I can give back to my community. And I knew how many hurdles new immigrants have to overcome," said Dr. Maya Lane.
Lane started the group two years ago to help our country's newest residents get adjusted. And since then, she said, they've helped more than 100 people from many countries get a better grasp of the language. People like Zanna, who moved here from Belarus five years ago.
"I'm 62 years old, and I am [a] very, very difficult [student]. But I study English every day, every day," she laughed.
They're also people like Misha, who moved to the U.S. from Ukraine two weeks ago and is learning English alongside his grandkids.
"He's going to work driving cars. So he needs to communicate with people," he said with the help of a translator.
These days, Lane said they're seeing more and more students coming from Ukraine, and to help with the influx, they need more volunteers, partnerships, and donations from the community.
As they wait, she said they hold space for the pain often hiding within the eagerness to learn.
"They are very humble, they're not complaining, but they come from [a] very difficult situation. Very," she said.
For more information about NICERFL, click here.
This article was written by Rochelle Alleyne for WFTS.