domingo, 2 de setembro de 2007


International Institute:

Background and MissionFifteen million people immigrated to the United States in the beginning of the 20th century. In order to recognize a growing demand of specialized services for immigrants, a Department of Immigrant and Foreign Communities was established to oversee projects called International Institutes. The first International Institutes were designed to provide social and humanitarian services, teach English, and create opportunities for cultural expression. Today, these Institutes help newly arrived refugees and immigrants to find work, learn English and help the local communities learn about other languages and cultures. There are 36 independently incorporated agencies working under the umbrella of Immigration and Refugee Services of America (IRSA), headquartered in Washington, DC.

The International Institute of Buffalo, NY, Inc.

The International Institute of Buffalo, NY, Inc. was originally established by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in 1918 to help prevent the exploitation of women brought to our country as domestic help. The International Institute is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian agency affiliated with Immigration and Refugee Services of America (IRSA), which unites 36 similar Institutes across the country. The International Institute is a United Way Agency. The Institute is located in an elegant three-story Georgian revival mansion on 864 Delaware Avenue, which offers space for gatherings of all types, including weddings, business meetings, cultural events, and concerts.

The Institute is a "home away from home" for many ethnic, cultural, and social groups and organizations. It fosters knowledge and appreciation for foreign cultures, cuisines, and languages. The Institute's staff is fluent in over a dozen languages, and has a data-bank of translators and interpreters in at least seventy other languages. The Institute's primary mission is to aid refugees, immigrants, their families and others who face cultural and linguistic barriers, become productive, self-sufficient members of our society. The International Institute provides the following services to its community and clients:

Translation and Interpreting
Immigration Legal Services
Social Work
English-as-a-Second Language Classes (ESL)
Foreign Language Classes
Rental Information

864 Delaware Avenue: A Glimpse of History

The three story Georgian revival building at 864 Delaware Avenue was designed in 1888 by Esenwein & Johnson. Its first occupant, Harlow C. Curtiss, began his law study in the firm of Cleveland and Bissell (former U.S. President Grover Cleveland was the senior partner) and was a practicing lawyer in Buffalo for nearly 40 years.

From 1905-1909 the house was owned by W. E. Silverhorne. The owner from 1910-1916 was Walter H. Schoellkopf, grandson of Jacob Schoellkopf, one of the founders of the Niagara Falls Power Company. Walter Schoellkopf was the First Secretary of the American Embassy in Madrid before his resignation in 1939.

Residing at 864 Delaware Avenue from 1917-1919 was Daniel B. Good, who established the Seibert-Good Company in Chicago, later consolidated with the Seymour H. Knox stores of Buffalo, and finally amalgamated with the F.W. Woolworth Company.

The last private resident, Frank Henry, was chairman of the board of the Washburn-Crosby Company, manufacturers of Gold Medal flour.

The house was vacant until the Temple of Unity and Truth occupied the site in 1941-1942. The Buffalo Association for the Blind made it their headquarters from 1947-1973. Since 1973, the house has been home to the International Institute of Buffalo, NY.

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