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November 2017 News & Highlights 

Sharing in Pie and Thankfulness

Each month, our VESL students gather for an assembly to socialize, learn about the new culture, and celebrate the month’s stories and successes together. For November’s VESL assembly we had a Thanksgiving-themed assembly. Students learned about the important US holiday, why they’d be seeing turkey decorations and cornucopias around town, and the history of the first Thanksgiving and how families celebrate it today. Everyone enjoyed a delicious pie of pumpkin pie while talking about traditional Thanksgiving foods and harvest! Students also had a chance to share what they were thankful for. Some shared that they appreciated the food, others peace, their families, children, teachers, and the opportunity to learn English. Some even said they were thankful for Black Friday!

For our VESL students, the acculturation element of classes is important to help them feel more comfortable and at home in their new country, beyond simply learning the language and securing a job. These assemblies are also a chance to celebrate students’ successes by presenting a Student of the Month Award. During the rest of the time outside of the monthly assemblies, VESL is an early employment program, and we offer vocationally focused ESL classes, job readiness training, and job search and application services that lead to our students’ early self-sufficiency

VESL is an IRC Economic Empowerment Program that is funded through the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) Refugee Program! IRC has been distinguished as an excelling service provider and awarded a new 3-year grant, which includes additional slots to enroll more clients!

What was on your list of things you were thankful for this Thanksgiving? At the IRC in Sacramento we were (and are) especially grateful for all of you who helped us help our clients throughout this year!
Conquering a tricky "ch"
Have you ever wondered why the “ch” sounds in “character,” “chocolate” and “chef” are all different? For native English speakers, most of us take it for granted that we know when certain letters make certain sounds--even if we don’t know why. For new speakers of English however, this is one of the many oddities of the language that can make learning tricky! It’s also one of the early hurdles of studying ESL for our clients.

The problem of “ch” was a recent topic of discussion for one of our Mommy & Me clients as she worked through the names of places in the community and encountered the word “mechanic.” After talking it through with her IRC volunteer teacher, she was able to make the breakthrough and grasp the concept, even figuring out how the letters should sound in several other words.

Small, day-to-day victories like this are the things that add up to huge successes for our clients as they get more and more comfortable speaking and reading the language of their new home!

Starting Over

It was challenging for Mr. Mujtaba to leave everything in Afghanistan and start his life afresh in the United States. He served as an interpreter for the U.S. army for almost 2 years. IRC helped him connect to and secure essential documents such as identity card, license, and Social Security Number. Mr. Mujtaba is thankful to the IRC for being there during his resettlement process and helping him secure these services. IRC’s cultural orientation was the most practical workshop to him which helped him during his cultural assimilation in his new home country.

Over 85% of refugees enrolled in our Refugee Empowerment Program are working withing 180 days of their arrival in the United States. 

Staff spotlight Headshot

Staff Spotlight: Missy!

Missy! is the Volunteer Specialist at the IRC in Sacramento.  She is thriving in her role and is grateful for the incredible outpouring of community support and how Sacramento is strengthened by the exchange and connection between volunteers and refugees!  
Cholera in Yemen and East Africa: Cholera is an ancient illness that today kills only the poorest and most vulnerable people. How is it affecting Yemen & East Africa?

Widespread drought, food insecurity and conflict across East Africa and Yemen have led to a mass displacement of people. Refugee camps are overcrowded and lack clean water, sanitation and health care, conditions that have nurtured a deadly cholera outbreak, putting millions at risk. Immediate action is required to address this outbreak before thousands of lives are lost unnecessarily from this highly contagious disease. 
Click here to learn more about the IRC's response.

Get Involved with IRC Sac This Month

BUY Winter Coats! We are currently in need of warm winter coats. Specifically, new and like-new men’s and women’s medium & larges and youth + child sizes.  Please sort coats by like size & gender into boxes or garbage bags and label the outside. Note, we have goals per size and are not accepting XXL+, or non outer-layers, such as vests, sweatshirts, etc. You can drop off sorted coats at 2020 Hurley Way, Suite 420 in Sacramento. If you have more than 10 coats, please email to arrange a delivery time.

ATTEND Winter Appreciation Party Tonight! On Wednesday, Dec 6th we will celebrate volunteers & interns from 2017 during the annual Winter Appreciation Party. Invitations and information have been sent, but contact or call 916-482-0120 for more information.

VOLUNTEER  Help refugees save thousands on their taxes this year by becoming a trained and certified VITA volunteer.  Email for more information and to enroll in online training.

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International Rescue Committee · 2020 Hurley Way, Ste 420 · Sacramento, CA 95825 · USA

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