ACC Staff Voters had this to say about ACC's Community Member of the Month: "Souraya is one of our community members who constantly exhibits determination, kindness, and a positive attitude. She came to the US in 2015 with her mother Siama. Together they faced a lot of challenges adjusting to the US and finding employment. In 2016 when she was only 19 years old, her mother was involved in a car accident that left her unable to work, and Souraya took on the responsibilities for being the primary provider for her household. She has taken on this role with grace and positivity and has retained the same job for almost two years so she can manage expenses for herself and her mother. She also provides a lot of assistance to her mother during those times she requires interpretation or needs help understanding something. Each time Souraya comes in to the office, she is patient, understanding, and kind to everyone she meets. Even though she has had to take on a lot of responsibility at such a young age, her determination and positive attitude have never wavered."
In our last newsletter, we shared the story of Suliman who was selected as Employee of the Quarter for the last quarter of 2017. Well, the good news just continues! Suliman went on to receive the Employee of the Year award for 2017 at the Brown Palace Hotel. The company honored him with a trophy, pictured below, an additional week of vacation and a cash bonus!
It is our great privilege at ACC to see transformation, and Sami is an outstanding example of what can happen when opportunities are shared with newcomers. Sami arrived from Syria in July of 2016. He and his family had a long and arduous journey from Syria to the United States, but upon arrival they were motivated and eager to start their new life. Sami was initially hired by Deny Design of Leaf Group as a production laborer. One year later, he was promoted to the Operation Associate position where his salary increased significantly. Sami has moved from a place of fear for his safety to a life of rebuilding and opportunity right here in Denver. We are so grateful for the opportunity to welcome community members like Sami!
Goodwill Industries of Denver has partnered with BankWork$ to provide financial industry specific training in the Denver metro area. BankWork$ is a free training program for adults with barriers to employment that provides a pathway to a career in the financial services industry and places graduates in jobs at leading local banks. Goodwill Industries is offering a 6 week summer session. This intensive course curriculum provides training in the skills needed for jobs as tellers, customer service representatives, and personal bankers. BankWork$ also offers job interview practice, job placement assistance, and ongoing coaching and mentoring to help with career advancement. The program culminates in a graduation ceremony and hiring event where graduates are interviewed by our partner banks.
Two ACC clients graduated from the 6-week-long, intensive BankWork$ training course and are hoping to receive job offers from a local area bank shortly. Both men are interviewing with several of the bank partners immediately following the ceremony.
Shah Mohammad has been in the US for a little over 2 years now. Shah has a BA in Finance from Afghanistan and has been working as a night auditor for a local Hotel for the last two years. He has a background in Office and Finance Management in the construction field and is looking forward to utilizing these skills in the banking industry here in Denver.
Baktash Muhammadi just arrived in Denver a little over two months ago with his wife and three children. He was such a great fit for the BankWork$ training program that he started the course just a little more than three weeks after arriving to the US. Originally from Afghanistan, Baktash has a BA in International Business and Economics from Sophia University in Japan and most recently served as the personal assistant to the Japanese Ambassador at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul, Afghanistan. Baktash has special interests in Accounting, Finance, Macro and Micro Economics and is looking forward to adding Banking to the list.
Our second We Made This gala was an immense success! We were honored to showcase the hard work and dedication of each of our refugee artisans who contributed countless hours to the event’s success and impact.
One of our distinguished guests, Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne, expressed that, as an immigrant, she fully understands that there are countless boundaries when integrating into a foreign culture. "Though I didn't have an immense language barrier, I felt the struggle of learning the way of life in America." Lynne's dedication to supporting the immigrant and refugee communities in Denver has been so overwhelmingly helpful in increasing public knowledge of how to contribute to programs like We Made This.
Mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock, echoed Lynne’s notation of commitment to the refugee community in Denver. He reinforced his dedication to ensuring that Denver remains a city of refuge for all who seek it.
Ultimately, the gala’s success also lies on all of our gracious donors and attendees who made this year’s event such a special time to band together as one united community. We raised more than $35,000 to support the We Made This program. We thank you all for your immense support and devotion to such an important night!
Want to support the future of We Made This? Click here to donate.
Mohamad Alnouri arrived from Syria on February 8th, 2017, and I (Barbara, ACC Job Developer) started working with him the first week of March. Mohamad did not speak English or understand the language so his mother translated everything for him.
Mohamad's personality, however, radiated even without speaking any English. He had, from the very beginning, an incredible attitude toward life and a jovial personality. I started searching for employment opportunities for him and after discussing his preferences, we decided he would apply at the Maven, a new luxury hotel in LoDo.
Mohamad interviewed for a houseman position. Since his English was limited, the housekeeper manager asked him if he was instead willing to start as a room attendant, and Mohamad agreed. He started working as a room attendant in mid-March. Just two short months later, he was nominated as “Employee of the Month”, as well as “Student of the Month” at Emily Griffith Technical College, where he attends English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. His supervisors love him, and Mohamad is well-liked among his colleagues throughout the hotel. Mohamad was quickly promoted into the houseman position, and his supervisor said that Mohamad will go far in the hospitality industry if he decides to continue along this career path.
The World Refugee Day rally was an exciting success! Celebrations included the Montbello High School drumline and a Bollywood-style dance routine performed by Deepali Lindblom and Roshni, a group which consists of many youth who came to the U.S. as refugees. Interfaith Alliance of Colorado led the rally in a prayer, and the crowd of around 250 people listened as refugees shared their stories.
Travis Weiner shared about his experiences on tour in Iraq and the good people he encountered there. He highlighted the large number of refugees who were admitted to the U.S. during the Vietnam War and mentioned how immigrants and refugees make valuable impacts on our society. Nga Vuong-Sandoval spoke of her journey traveling to the U.S. as a Vietnamese refugee, riding as a toddler on a cargo ship not designed to carry people, and transferring from refugee camps in Alabama and Arkansas until finally settling in Colorado. She is now an Investigator at the Colorado Department of Law, an affiliate professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and a member of Denver’s Asian-American Pacific-Islander Commission. Daniala Mohammadi shared the trauma of her experience in Afghanistan, and said she would have grown up in her hometown if she not was not forced to flee at age ten because of the Taliban. She just graduated from Denver South High school and earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Colorado, where she plans to study biomedical engineering.
Denver’s first youth poet laureate, Toluwanimi Obiwole, shared her poetry on how she made Denver her home after immigrating from Nigeria as a child. Governor Hickenlooper spoke last, talking about Colorado’s rich refugee history, read a proclamation declaring diversity makes the state stronger, and officially making June 20th World Refugee Day in the state of Colorado. The event drew all walks of life to celebrate refugees in Colorado. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s celebration of World Refugee Day!
ACC’s Youth Programs have a long history of coordinating soccer leagues for young refugee men. Thanks to Adidas Group, ACC’s Youth Programs are now able to provide young refugee women an equal opportunity to compete in an indoor co-ed soccer league. For the majority of these young women, the idea of competing in a local indoor soccer league was previously an unimaginable goal due to lack of experience, self-confidence, and equipment to use during practices.
After working with the Marriott, Mustafa accepted a job with ERMC Janitorial at Cherry Creek Mall. He worked with ERMC for 6 months, and over the course of his employment was promoted to supervising a team of 8 employees. Mustafa had to leave this job after the company sold out and laid off all of their employees...
Working from an auto body shop in Malaysia, Min Tun took pride in auto body painting and restoration. He had dreams of someday opening his own business to turn around cars.
Originally from Burma, Min came to the United States in 2013. Within weeks of his arrival, he started attending African Community Center (ACC)’s Job Club and studying English at Emily Griffith School. Even during Job Club activities at ACC, Min talked about his dream of working with cars again...
After months of unemployment, Ruqiya desperately wanted to work, but was frustrated in her job search and didn’t know what else to do. After discussing options at the African Community Center (ACC), arrangements were made for her to attend a combination of one-on-one Supplemental Employment Services (SES) appointments and Job Club to help her learn tools critical for her job search...