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By Iliana Ponce,
Outreach Program Coordinator

Thursday | 01.18.2022

2022 is going great so far! Lots of exciting things coming our way & the office is getting ready for the New Americans Legal Clinic.

We’ve seen about 48 of our new neighbors in the office so far! 馃檪

We’ve had multiple organizations & churches stop by the office & donate goodie bags for the children that come through, as well as tea packets prepared by local churches for all of the adults that come through. You should see the smiles on their faces! 馃檪 Every time they get a gift, they smile ear to ear. These families are soo precious!

We’ve met some wonderful people so far from all walks of life and experiences. We’ve seen construction workers, chefs, bakers, home-makers, teachers, pilots, attorneys, professional interpreters – on that note, I have to work on my Pashto! I would love to learn a third language!

A lot of the people we see, know 3-5 languages!!! That’s amazing! 鉂わ笍 Hopefully soon LIA will have their own professional Pashto interpreter! #goals

I look forward to big exciting changes & continuing to serve our new neighbors faithfully!

Friday | 11.03.2021

We did it team! The first week of our OAR Clinic has been completed! 馃檪

We originally expected 15 Refugees in our office but due to some unexpected changes we were able to welcome & receive 12 refugees through our doors.

Our volunteers did a phenomenal job working with the Refugees & their families. The children loved the play area & shared a few stories, laughs & recited the ABC鈥檚 with one of our volunteers. I kept one of their drawings & pages where they wrote the ABC鈥檚. One of the children gave me a paper flower they made – I displayed it by our windows.

A gentleman drew a flag with words underneath, he looked at it & hugged his son as they admired what he drew. Another gentleman called me over to simply say Tasakor鈥 or 鈥淭hank You鈥 in Dari, he proceeded to me show me pictures of his wife & 2 yr. old son in Kabul & said 鈥淚 miss them.鈥 I learned 鈥渇amily鈥 in Dari is pronounced, 鈥渇amil鈥 – I鈥檓 so thankful for these interactions.

We鈥檙e working daily on addressing any complications in order to better serve these individuals – the work is never ending but it鈥檚 so rewarding. We will continue to work diligently to serve our community. We look forward to continue working with BCS, our volunteers, donors & community as we prepare for many more OAR Clinic days.

This is only the beginning 鈥 馃檪

– Iliana Ponce

Your ongoing support has built up Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates’ legal services program to meet the needs of hundreds of Afghan new arrivals in West Michigan. You can keep up to date with regular news about our efforts here on our blog, social media, and by email newsletter. In addition, we hope you will consider making a year-end gift, donating materials, and volunteering to ensure the best possible welcome for our new neighbors. Learn more to be the lightkeepers our world needs:

Post Author: David Lee

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