First published in the Nov. 19 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
South Pasadena resident and South Pasadena Review columnist Andy Lippman was recently announced as one of six HALO Award recipients by the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation.
The annual HALO Awards support nonprofit organizations by recognizing work by the groups and their volunteers each year. Award recipients receive $5,000 and their organizations receive $20,000.
Lippman, whose career has been in journalism, was recognized for his volunteerism with the PUENTE Learning Center in East Los Angeles, where he worked with students studying for their citizenship tests.
Lippman was first introduced to the PUENTE Learning Center when he served as a board member in the 1990s. Beginning in 2004, he dedicated one day a week to help students practice English and to provide American History lessons to upper level English as a Second Language students. In time, he started an ESL Conversation Lunch Club that met once a week during break.
In 2016, Lippman began teaching a one-hour citizenship class once a week to help PUENTE adult students study for the citizenship exam. He brought his own creativity to the class by including music, guest speakers, food and photo books. In the midst of the pandemic, Andy’s work has not slowed down.
Though he can’t meet the students in person, he emails and calls students leading up to the citizenship test providing one-on-one support and words of encouragement. When a student has an interview date, Lippman spends hours with them on the phone outside of class to practice until they feel confident and have their answers prepared. In the past seven years, he has helped 69 immigrants become U.S. citizens.
Lippman remains a friend to all his students, calling them or sending them emails to remind them to vote. His success is measured by how many students register and vote for the first time.