Theresa arrived from Namibia as a refugee with two young children. She knew that to make it in the States she would need a job and quickly learned that a job in Knoxville requires being able to drive. Enter TIES with the Drive Out of Poverty classes that prepare students to pass their learner’s permit. With hard work and after weeks of study, Theresa passed her learner’s permit exam, was given a scholarship to Drive 4 Life Academy and passed her driver license road test with flying colors. Her fear gave way to joy as she hit the road and no longer depended on friends and neighbors to take her where she needed to go.


Carlos and Anabel arrived as a couple at Concord United Methodist Church for citizenship classes right before the pandemic forced closure. Anxious to become citizens for themselves and the sake of their two small children they entered into the classes fully. Suddenly TIES was forced to suspend classes with only 3 left to finish. Knowing how important it was for the students, the coordinators found a safe place to continue with social distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitizing stations. Carlos and Anabel completed the course even under these difficult circumstances, passed their interviews and took the oath. It involved 3 trips to Nashville in a few days time but they did it! Now they will vote for president of the United States for the first time.