Monthly Archives: November 2012

Meet Doree!

Doree is the Refugee Support Network’s newest VISTA member. She will be starting her year of service with School’s Out Washington in December.

Doree Desberg

Refugee School Impact Grant VISTA Member

School’s Out Washington

As the new Refugee School Impact Grant VISTA at School’s Out Washington, Doree will work to develop resources which support school district and community partnerships such as conducting needs assessments and aiding in the implementation of workshops for newcomer students and families. After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2009 with a degree in International Development and Global Education, Doree has worked alongside various education and community development programs throughout Peru and Southeast Asia. She is extremely excited to begin her year working with the devoted staff of School’s Out Washington.

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Nicola: Refugee School Impact Grant Grantee Orientation

A highlight of this past quarter was presenting at the Refugee School Impact Grant (RSIG) Grantee Orientation, where the RSIG grantees convened to kick-off another two-year grant cycle from the federal government. We had convened in June to end the previous year, and that had been my first chance to meet most of the grantees as well as my first chance to introduce them to my resource toolkits for newcomer families and students to the school system.

While I entered the June meetings and its presentation with uncertainty, coming before our partners at the September Orientation was a great moment as I could put finalized products in their hands and share how these resource toolkits, created to have a wide scope and flexibility, could really apply to all their work despite the diversity of their organizations. This time, while also supplying constructive feedback on how best to disseminate the information and on what additional tools could be created in the future, the grantees also gave a lot of feedback and appreciation for the finished work.                             

In their appreciation, all the time, energy and process of sifting and creating over the course of the year was worth it. These products are something the grantees identified as useful. The toolkits will be able to support our partners’ efforts around orientation to the schools as they actively work to support the refugee families and students and the schools that receive them. Gathered there with twenty-three partners representing the ten school districts and almost all of the partner organizations, it was a moment to bring all the pieces of the year together for me and it was an honor to put the toolkits in the hands of the people I had been working to support.

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Denis: Tutoring Success

Our citizenship tutoring program continues to produce amazing stories. We recently had a client who sought help for his citizenship interview. When I first interviewed him, I could sense the lack of confidence that he had and could tell that he was not prepared for the interview. Not only was I afraid he would fail, his lack of English skills made me think he would not stand a chance in the interview. After working with one of our tutors for more than two months, he exceeded my expectations and passed his interview, finally making him an American citizen. I know that his story would be impossible without the help of the IRC and our tutoring program. The change in confidence was amazing and helped our program stay on its current 100% success rate. Our tutors have done an amazing job, and I can only give them praise for the success they’ve had.

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Wuhye: Walk for Rice

Something that stood out this past quarter was my involvement with ACRS’s 22nd Annual Walk for Rice. This was a very exciting fundraising event and my first time helping out at such a large event (over 125 volunteers, over 300 volunteer hours, $200,000 earned!). I helped with event coordination and managing our event volunteers. I also helped with recruiting and training volunteers for the event. It was a great learning experience.

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