USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

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USCRI's Blog: Read This!

Here at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, we distribute staff-wide daily articles on important issues.  Want to be in the loop, too?  We’ll keep you up to date on the scoop about refugees, immigrants, migrant children, and human trafficking every week in our Read This! Blog.

November 21, 2012

One volunteer working with local agencies in Erie, including the International Institute of Erie (USCRI/IIE) has developed an affectionate nickname for his years of service to the community.  'The Turkey Man' has been delivering Thanksgiving meals to families in need for more than 25 years.  This year his Thanksgiving Dinner Drive will provide 2,500 meals to families through 40 local agencies.

In Waterloo, Iowa, USCRI Des Moines is meeting the needs of a growing number of Burmese immigrants.  The recent influx of secondary migrants to Cedar Valley, attributed to job opportunities, low cost of living, and welcoming communities, is estimated to number 800 individuals.  The 17-month program will provide basic services and also focus on helping the Waterloo community, schools, and businesses with translation and interpreting services for interacting with the newcomers, as well as building relationships between community volunteers and the newcomers.  School systems are trying to ensure that Burmese children have adequate and language appropriate services in and out of the classroom by using more visual techniques to reach students. 

English as a Second Language programs in Albany, New York, are helping refugees and immigrants from Burma, Bhutan, and Iraq to succeed in school. USCRI Albany Field Office Director Jill Peckenpaugh says that the Capital Region has become a welcoming area for immigrants to build new lives, offering a competitive job market.  Beyond providing opportunities for English language learners to better participate in their communities, this diversity is allowing for American students to learn about different languages and cultures and better prepare them for a global workplace.

Students in Burlington, Vermont showed two of their former instructors how to make chicken dumplings for an Election Day bake sale. The girls, refugees from Nepal, talk about life in a refugee camp and their new lives in Burlington. Although they miss the strong sense of community and cultural connectedness they experienced while living the camps, they are excited about the educational opportunities they have in the U.S.

Tweet this blog: On #ReadThis!, Turkey Man serves #Erie, services for Burmese in #Waterloo, #Albany ESL, & dumplings in #Burlington

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