A nonprofit that works with city immigrants said it will be able to further its reach after opening a new office Sunday in Elmhurst.
Make the Road New York, which has offices in Staten Island and Brooklyn and had two smaller spaces in Corona and Jackson Heights before moving to Elmhurst, helps predominantly Latino immigrants with anything from recouping unpaid wages to learning English, according to Ana Maria Archila, the group’s co−executive director.
“Here in Queens, we have been able to bring some important things in the areas of worker’s rights, education reform,” she said.
Queens is the most ethnically diverse county in the nation and many of its residents are immigrants.
Archila said she believed the Elmhurst office is the largest community center for immigrants in western Queens. The $200,000 renovation of the former Blockbuster store at 92−10 Roosevelt Ave. was funded entirely through donations and state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s (D−Ridgewood) office, she said.
“It’s really exciting that we’re now in the heart of where immigrant workers live because we’re going to be able to make a big difference in their lives,” Archila said.
Among the group’s accomplishments, she said, was helping immigrant workers receive $6.5 million in unpaid wages in the city last year and reaching 23,000 immigrant voters for a voter mobilization campaign in November.
The organization also helped set up Pan−American International High School in Elmhurst, a public school composed entirely of immigrants who have been in the United States for four years or less.
Andrew Friedman, Make the Road’s other co−executive director, said the new space is larger than the Corona and Jackson Heights offices combined.
“I think we’ll be able to do [our work] in a scale and a level that we couldn’t do before,” he said.
Friedman said there has been increased demand for the group’s services and the new office will enable more attorneys to handle legal matters and more of the nonprofit’s members to take classes.
“It’s just been mind−blowing — the level of participation,” he said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz
©2009 Community News Group
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