RISE & Shine Blog
Hear from our members across the state
By Katie Splean
Leya is a RefugeeRISE AmeriCorps member turned full-time employee at the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC). Here, she's teaching Job Club, which seeks to equip our clients with the skills to succeed in the workplace. For many of them, it helps plot out the steps and goals they'll need to follow in order to return to the type of employment they once had back in their home country. Leya is a great leader at CMC, demonstrating passion and dedication to her job. She does an exemplary job of fulfilling her duties and sets a great example in the workplace.
By Path of Hope Staff, as told to Sarah Hubbard
Jane came to Path of Hope because her family was new to Iowa and didn’t speak any English. It was easy to see Jane’s fear just by looking into her eyes. She was uncertain of the future, and terrified of failing to care for her kids. After talking with Jane, we were able to decide together that her top three priorities would be finding a place to live, getting a job, and finding a physician.
We took Jane to see many different houses that she could rent. We wanted to make sure she knew she had options and didn’t need to settle on the first one. When she decided which one she wanted, Path of Hope assisted the family by making arrangements with the landlord for them to be able to move in without credit and also by teaching the family how to make the first month's rent payment, plus the deposit. Between days of house hunting, we helped Jane fill out Medicaid forms so she and her children could go see a doctor without worrying about the cost. In addition, Jane got a job with assistance from our staff here at Path of Hope.
Jane now has a job that can help provide for her family’s needs. She also has a primary care doctor who she can visit without worrying about big bills. Jane is still living in the house that Path of Hope helped her find with her family. When she comes to visit, there is no longer fear in her eyes. Instead, there is a happiness and joy there that we know we helped put there.
By JoAnn Goerdt as told to Sarah Hubbard
David brought three letters in to IC Compassion about his electric bill and wanted help understanding them. He didn’t understand the timing of the payments, the down payment, or the consequences of making a late payment. In addition, David wasn’t familiar with the postal service in the United States. He didn’t know that letters needed stamps, which would seem like common knowledge to people who have lived in the United States their whole lives.
I worked with David to help him understand the letters and bill payment process. During that time, I could see that he was embarrassed to ask for help but I also saw his courage and determination. He trusted me enough to help him solve the issue. It was clear that David wanted to learn by the way he asked for instructions to be repeated until he understood them and could explain them back to me. Even though you could tell he was frustrated, he was patient with himself and with me while we worked through the process together.
David has become knowledgeable and confident about the process of making and mailing payments. Because of this, he is becoming more self-sufficient. We greet each other with a knowing smile, but don't have to mention previous circumstances again. I feel that David and I have become friends and he would feel comfortable asking me for help in the future or recommending me to his friends if they need any help transitioning to the U.S, culture.
By Joana Lwin
My experience serving as an AmeriCorps member with EMBARC Waterloo is incredible. Everyone in the office has been very helpful, friendly, and inspiring. We understand each others' needs and everyone is there to help each others out. Even though we are in multiple programs, we are all connected just like we are working on the same project. I am proud to be part of EMBARC to serve my community. For example, everyone on the Waterloo team came and support each other to help the community members filling out applications at our FOIA clinic. Everyone was willing to miss out on spending time with their families to be there and work together to do it correctly and run smoothly.
My supervisor have been great and friendly to me. We have built a strong relationship and I felt like I can talk to her about everything and every problem I have. My supervisor have not only been helping me with my work as a RefugeesRISE member, but has also helped me a lot with schools, filling out scholarship and going through college process with me. I respect her a lot and she serves as a role model for me. She reminded me of my strength when I’m down. I would say she’s not only my supervisor but also a friend, family and my counselor.
About the Blog
The service members of RefugeeRISE AmeriCorps have compiled stories of success during their membership. This blog was created with the intent of sharing these valuable stories with the public.