Luminus empowers New Americans by offering legal, social, language, and employment services to help them achieve their goals.
The Luminus Network for New Americans grew out of an informal support service for foreign-born students at Howard Community College (HCC) in 1981. Originating as the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network (FIRN), our founder, Pat Hatch, imagined a place where immigrants and refugees could ask questions and get support without feeling uneasy. Pat shared her idea with the Columbia Foundation and with HCC’s teachers of English as a Second Language, whose students were continually posing questions that had little to do with English, but much to do with their survival in a new culture.
Pat and HCC joined forces. With initial seed money from the Columbia Foundation, FIRN opened its doors in October 1981, staffed only by Pat. In its first year, the project served 90 persons from 10 countries. In 1984, FIRN was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Slowly its services expanded to include immigration counseling, interpreting, and other critical social services.
Renamed the Luminus Network for New Americans in 2021, Luminus serves immigrants from more than 90 countries and is well known as the key resource in Central Maryland for New Americans while sharing their contributions with the greater public. Luminus understands that all people deserve belonging, share something unique as individuals who make a home in our community, and alongside our volunteer Luminators, can imagine and shape a better future. We live with those universal truths in providing direct service and celebrating and sharing the stories that make us stronger and illuminate our communities.
- We believe that support for individuals and families is most impactful when services are integrated and holistic.
- We believe that all of society benefits when New Americans are empowered to realize their dreams, contribute to the economic well-being of their communities and participate fully in the life of the community.
- We believe there is strength in unity and immigrant communities are empowered when they come together in common purpose, which is centered on unifying New Americans, not dividing them.
- We believe that by sharing the stories, histories, and contributions of New Americans we promote public understanding of the integral role they play in the social and economic vibrancy of our communities.
For me and my family Luminus means a great light on the journey, where, with their programs of rental assistance, food, and English tutoring, they have changed our lives. Thanks, Luminus!
I was not getting paid in my job in maintenance [during the pandemic], and Luminus’s rental assistance program allowed me to keep my home. The assistance was amazing, and it helped me survive the pandemic in a home. Without it, I don't know what I would have done.
This little note is to thank the Luminus organization for their support to our community and especially to my family. Luminus was a great support in a very complicated time for us, they made us feel their unconditional support. They worked extraordinarily hard to help my family for which I will be eternally grateful.