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LOWELL'S INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE: 
75 YEARS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
 
Americanization class
 
thereby, reducing costs for administering the programs.  It was also hoped that with an increase of volunteer workers more women could be reached.

     By the time of the first World War, about one million immigrants a year were coming through Ellis Island.  With the war there were new problems to be addressed.  Unfortunately, not all those who needed help would come forward to ask for it.  The issue of religious direction became a barrier in reaching those in need.  With the help of funds from the War Work Council of the YWCA, Lowell's chapter of the International Institute was officially created on May 1, 1918.
 
The Work
Until "suitable headquarters" could be found, the International Institute operated out of the YWCA building on John Street.  It also hired its first employees to work with Greek and Polish women.  Work started slowly.  According to the Greek worker's semi-monthly report, average attendance in the classes was on!y eighteen.
 
     By September of 1918, the International Institute had moved its office to 25 Palmer Street.  At this new location, the Institute conducted cooking, sewing and canning classes along English and Americanization classes.  The regular casework of the Nationality Secretary included medical  employment and legal advice, as well as house calls and referrals. By the end of 1918, the number of nationalities reached by the International Institute rose to seven.

     The Institute continued to grow after the war.
In addition to the regular casework done by the
  
 

   
Nationality Secretaries, the Institute conducted
summer picnics, camping camping parties for girls, and an exhibition of handicrafts from many of the ethnic communities serviced.  In 1925, the International Institute held the first of its many festivals, the Homelands Exhibit and Festival, promoting the diverse ethnic culture that Lowell contained.
 
     In the Annual Report of 1928, casework was divided into five categories:
 
            1) Migration Service
            2) Naturalization
            3) Interpretation
            4) Legal
            5) Medical
 
It was also noted in that Report that the Institute was not an agency for relief.  Its mission was to cultivate cooperation with other agencies and act as a resource in directing individuals to the proper relief agency.  This report, though not intentionally, guided the International Institute's operations for the next sixty-five years.  The organization continued to provide referral services for the needy, conducted educational and citizenship classes, encouraged the formation of ethnic clubs, and worked toward obtaining citizenship for both women and men.
 
     In the 1930s, funding for the Institute became harder to obtain because of economic conditions across the country.  In addition, where there was once great cooperation between the manufactures, the YWCA, and the International Institute, there was now animosity.  The YWCA had become more active in women's rights and issues over the 
  
  
 
 
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