A young woman with a large lump in her breast neglected getting checked for breast cancer due to lack of insurance. After learning about ACC’s Primary Care Clinic she came in for a prescreening. With the help of our clinical staff she received referral services, a mammogram and treatment at Karmanos. With the assistance of ACC and the screenings she was diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages. Today she is cancer free and continues to receive yearly mammograms.
Emile Homsy, 80, was one of ESL’s oldest students. A native of Lebanon, he made his home in the U.S. 10 years ago, but decided to learn English recently. Emile said that he wanted to sharpen his English-language speaking skills for social interaction purposes. “I can now talk to people with confidence and help people in the community who speak limited English and translate for them.”
The increasing flow of immigrants has significantly impacted the demand for legal assistance relating to immigration matters. Nene Tesija, ACC Immigration Specialist, is all too familiar with the plight of many immigrants who face dangerous situations and are forced to cope with uncertain times in their life. Nene provides immigration and naturalization services to assist individuals and families with various immigration issues. Although her continuous arduous work provides many clients invaluable services; she is not always awarded instant gratification due to changing world politics and immigration laws. However, some cases offer an overwhelmingly joyful ending, like that of Ali’s.
In March 2005, Ali, in desperation, came to Nene to petition on behalf of his little girl, Reem, who he was forced to leave behind as he immigrated to the United States. ACC assisted him with the immigration petitions for his family. As he waited patiently for a response, the day finally arrived, or so he thought when everyone in his family was issued immigrant visas, except for his youngest daughter Reem. According to the Embassy, they could not process her papers because she was born after initial immigrant visas were filed. Since Ali is the only permanent resident holder, he could not afford to lose the family’s immigrant visas, and decided to leave Reem in the care of a neighbor and depart to the U.S. without her.
It took over a year, but with Nene’s diligent work, she successfully obtained humanitarian parole for Reem – a discretionary relief granted by the attorney general in rare circumstances when extreme hardship can be demonstrated. In April 2006, Reem was reunited with her family in Hamtramck. “A client’s smile is worth all the hard work, it not only reflects what we do, it also solidifies our commitment,” said Nene. “My reward is to greet Mr. Ali in our Hamtramck office when he no longer has tears in his eyes as he did each week, only smiles.”
Two Iraqi children are currently receiving extensive medical care at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. They arrived, along with their mothers, in mid April sponsored by the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. ACC representatives visited Majid and Amir and provided them with much needed financial services and support to the family.
Majid, a 10-year old boy, lost his leg and vision in both eyes due to an explosion in his hometown of Najaf. Amir, a sixteen month old from Sadr City in Baghdad, was born with a rare environmental illness that has caused serious organ failure. Both children underwent a series of complex surgeries, resulting in tremendous improvement in their overall conditions. Majid was fitted with an artificial leg that helped him become mobile again. His vision was improved after ophthalmologist performed several successful procedures at the Kellogg Eye Institute at the University of Michigan Hospital. Amir continues to receive guarded medical attention from various physicians at U of M Hospital where he is showing great improvement.
Majid and Amir were released from the hospital in September. A six-month follow up is scheduled. Even though there is no official data available reflecting the true number of injured or maimed Iraqi children since the beginning of the war, it is estimated that the number exceeds 50,000. Iraqi hospitals and medical institutions in Iraq are not equipped to respond to the shocking number of cases that occur daily.
Community members first became aware of the details of Majid and Amir’s conditions when they appeared on ACC’s radio program, Maal Jalia. Their mothers talked about their ordeal and the circumstances that brought them to the United States. Majid and Amir where surprisingly welcomed with an overwhelming response from community members offering them their support and well wishes.
A 4th grader named Diamond was being bullied on a daily basis by her classmates. They picked on her because of her hygiene problems. She comes from a large family of seven where the parents are always working and unable to provide her with guidance or to teach her how to take care of herself. She didn’t know how to brush her teeth, or how many times to shower. In response to Diamond’s need ACC’s dedicated staff member Lara Elia went out and purchased a number of hygiene products and taught Diamond how to have good hygiene. Lara provided her with items such as clean clothing, toothbrush, body wash, shampoo, a backpack, perfume, deodorant, toothpaste, gloves, scarf, hat, socks, underwear, and more, which put a wonderful smile on Diamond’s face.
As a result she has been coming to school with no hygiene problems and the bullying has stopped. In addition to addressing the hygiene issue this situation brought up the issue of bullying. Lara took extra time to talk to the class about the affects of bullying and the importance of being kind to those who are in need of help.
ACC is proud to share the following poetry booklet created by ESL students from Lamphere High School. The 12 Iraqi students who participated in this project all began high school with zero English. They came to the US as teenagers and had to learn academic English in order to successfully complete the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) and graduate. The path was not easy for them but they took on the challenge.
We invite you to read through the attached booklet. You will be amazed by their depth and insight as they write about their experiences in Iraq along with their struggles to escape war, wait in refugee camps, and then finally arrive in teh US. It is remarkable! ESL Poetry from Lamphere High School