In Ohio, New Initiatives Aim to Empower Refugees

By Gabe Cahn,

According to a March 2018 study released by Cleveland State University, 113,000 immigrants have moved to Ohio over the past six years. The report found that these new Americans “spur economic and community growth," and that supporting their integration will "brighten the future for all Ohioans."

In recognition of the value immigrants bring to the Buckeye State, Governor John Kasich held a press conference on Tuesday, May 15, to tout a new initiative designed to help refugees and immigrants successfully integrate.

Gathered in the statehouse with a diverse group of individuals dedicated to welcoming and empowering Ohio's newcomers, the governor said: “We gotta love people. And when I say love people, we gotta help people—help them to have a better life. That’s really what it’s all about.”  

Immediately to his right sat Nadia Kasvin, co-founder and director of US Together, HIAS’ local resettlement partner in Ohio, and someone who knows a thing or two about helping people have a better life.

“I came to this country as a refugee from Ukraine 24 years ago,” remarked Kasvin, who was also there representing the Ohio Welcoming Initiatives Network (OWIN).

“My goal is to make sure that we offer the same opportunities, and remove barriers to success, for refugees and immigrants coming after us.”

“We see all the barriers that people come with,” she added, “and we try to bring solutions to those barriers and guide people along the way.”

OWIN, which was launched by the state’s six largest regionsincluding the city of Columbusis an effort to create a welcoming environment in Ohio which supports the success of all residents.

Along with her colleagues at US Together, Kasvin is doing just that.

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