International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Baltimore City Community College's Refugee Youth Project Volunteer Honored

On Monday, March 12th Governor Martin O'Malley presented one of RYP's mentors, Amy Pucino with the Compassionate Marylander Award. This unique award is part of the governor's  "Maryland: Stronger Together" initiative and celebrates citizens who provide for neighbors in need.

Since August, 2009, Ms. Pucino was matched as a RYP mentor with a single mother with seven children from Iraq. She has helped them navigate landlord/tenant issues to prevent multiple evictions, assisted them with acquiring health insurance, guided them through accessing public benefits, connected them to mental health services and accompanied them to doctor and dentist appointments. 
Volunteering with this family has had a profound impact on Ms. Pucino that reaches far beyond her weekly mentoring sessions – it has changed the course of her academic and professional pursuits.  As a doctoral candidate in Language, Literacy, and Culture at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, she addresses the complexities of refugee social integration and academic success. Her dissertation research is focused on how mentors and educators are perceived by refugees they serve, and how educators can effectively support this unique population.  “I am seeking to contribute to the store of knowledge on how “caring” differs across culture.  Hopefully, research like this will help those of us who work with youth in an educational capacity to understand how our work is perceived,” explains Ms. Pucino.

Ms. Pucino was nominated by BCCC's RYP's Volunteer Specialist, Moira Fratantuno. Care First, Blue Cross/Blue Shield provided $5,000 rewards to five nominees which Ms. Pucino kindly chose to donate back to the RYP.
Amy was also mentioned as one of the five award winners in the linked article below in today’s Sun.