In the mid-1990s, the United States tightened its immigration policies and implemented Federal Welfare Reform. This legislation increased the strain on immigrant communities throughout the country. As a direct result, Hawaii saw cutbacks in social services and welfare provisions for its non-U.S. citizens. The Chinese Community Action Coalition (CCAC), a non-profit grassroots organization, responded. In 1996, the CCAC developed the Honolulu Chinese Citizenship Tutorial Program (HCCTP) - to help immigrants pass the naturalization examination for U.S. citizenship.
The HCCTP’s successes have involved student-tutors from UH-Manoa, Chaminade, KCC, HCC, HPU, and Michigan State. Inspired by the HCCTP, similar service-learning opportunities have evolved at other sites, such as the Filipino Community Center. Each local program needs student-tutors each semester.
You can get involved through S.H.I.N.E. – “Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders.” This national service-learning initiative supports the Hawaii tutorials by engaging college students in English language tutoring and intensive review of the INS exam’s civics material.