Refugee Receives Outstanding Achievement Award

Refugee Receives Outstanding Achievement Award

Teresa Mitchell stands with her mother after receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award from FEGS for her successful training and employment as a home health aide.

Last week, Teresa Mitchell, an asylee who fled to the United States from Jamaica in 2012, gratefully accepted an Outstanding Achievement Award from FEGS, HIAS’s affiliate in New York City. Her mother, Annette MacDonnell, stood proudly at her side.

Ms. Mitchell won her asylum claim in 2013 and was immediately referred to FEGS in New York City. While participating in two HIAS sponsored programs there, she successfully completed a Home Health Aide training course sponsored by FEGS and found a job as a home health aide.

The two programs that Ms. Mitchell benefitted from are designed to help refugees and asylees adjust to their new lives in the United States and become self-sufficient as quickly as possible. The Preferred Communities program for LGBTI Refugees and Asylees provides targeted, specialized and intensive case management and supportive services to LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) individuals who may have been living in fear of the authorities, familial structures, and the societies where they originated or fled to. Services provided under this grant include assistance in finding housing, referrals to health and mental health providers as needed, case management, and support in achieving social integration.

Ms. Mitchell also benefitted from the Matching Grant program, an intensive case management and employment services program designed to help participants achieve economic self-sufficiency within 4 to 6 months after enrollment in the program. Clients are taught how to apply for jobs, how to conduct themselves during a job interview, and skills that will make them successful in the workplace. FEGS works with a wide range of employers to find the best matches between job candidates and employers.

Describing her case manager at FEGS, Tatyana Kogan, Ms. Mitchell said, “Tatyana helped me with everything I needed. Whenever I felt I couldn’t keep going, she encouraged me.”

Both the Matching Grant and the Preferred Communities programs are administered by HIAS with funding from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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