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'Neighborhood House' Works To Ease Transition For Immigrants

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota is home to many different cultures. Families from all over the world continue to move here to start a new life.

For the last 117 years, a place on the west side of St. Paul has worked to make the transition a whole lot easier.

It's called Neighborhood House, and was started by Russian immigrants in 1897.

The non-profit agency offers a wide variety of services like English classes, job counseling and support for teenagers and parents.

And everything is free.

Neighborhood House is holding its annual event Tuesday night to thank its supporters and to raise money to help keep them afloat.

Over the years, they have served people from nearly 40 countries, helping them to become self-sufficient.

The main location is inside the same building as the Wellstone Center. Nancy Brady, the president of Neighborhood House, gave WCCO a tour.

A quote from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone decorates the entrance to Neighborhood House.

"We all do better when we all do better," Wellstone said.

What takes place here reflects that philosophy.

"Our mission at Neighborhood House is to help people gain the knowledge, the skills and the confidence that they need to overcome whatever the challenges are that they're facing in their life -- and move forward," Brady said.

You'll find a free pre-school for young children to prepare them for kindergarten, free GED classes for people trying to get a high school diploma and scholarships for adults of any age trying to go to college.

"Our college access program is a really young program. It's only 3 years old," She said. "Year one, nine people went to college. Last year, 61 or our participants went to college. That's how we measure success."

There's also a food shelf, parenting classes and a support group for teenagers to keep them out of gangs. And Brady says they also have one of the top-rated adult education programs in the state.

"We want to help people dream and then work to make their dreams come true," Brady said. "We want to help people see a positive future and create it."

It's the same mission that Neighborhood House had during its earliest days. What's different now is the expense.

They rely on fundraisers and donations to keep their programs running.

"Tonight's a big night and everyone that's not here can be a part of that great success and make a huge impact on the lives of many different people of all ages and all races," she said.

Click here if you would like to make a donation to Neighborhood House.

And click here to learn about their volunteer opportunities.

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