Suburban Washington Resettlement Center Opens Doors to a Welcoming Community
On an average day, one can expect to find the halls of the Suburban Washington Resettlement Center (SWRC) bustling with staff and clients alike. Home to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Lutheran Social Services (LSS), Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Baltimore City Community College (BCCC), and the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the SWRC serves as a one-stop shop for refugee, asylee and immigration support services.
At 5:00 on March 15th, when the halls and offices would normally begin to empty, they were instead transformed. The conference room, usually a quiet home to a large table and conference chairs, suddenly hosted mingling guests. The air filled with music and chatter and mixed with the smell of delicious food from Panda Express, Corner Bakery, Buca di Beppo, Blind Dog Cafe, Lebanese Taverna, Bete Restaurant, Safeway and Adega Wine Cellars and Cafe. Traditional attire from the home countries and cultures of both staff and clients added to an already bright and vibrant atmosphere.
The Open House facilitated conversations that demonstrated how the SWRC and the people it serves are a part of the community and likewise how the community is a part of refugee resettlement. Over 200 individuals attended the Open House, each from a variety of backgrounds and connected to the center in a different way. The guests included volunteers and interns, former staff, off-site partner agencies, government officials, businesses that hire clients, doctors who work with clients, representatives from the UNHCR, American Red Cross, StreetWise Partners, ImaginAsia Youth Art Program, Vietnam Veterans of America, Montgomery County and Prince George's County Public Schools, the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees, and many other friends.
It was truly a wonderful evening for everyone who was involved, as is demonstrated by the following photos.
Abera Abebe in front of his photographs from Ethiopia. (Photo taken by David Choy) http://david.choy.me/
The Bhutanese Women's Knitting Group with Tin Tin Oo, Administrative Manager, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Megan Lind, Bhutanese Community Program Intern (IRC) , Laxman Dulal, Program Specialist, Association of Bhutanese in America (ABA) (Photo taken by David Choy) http://david.choy.me/
Dana Henderson, Volunteer Coordinator, in front of her presentation on "How to get involved." (Photo taken by David Choy) http://david.choy.me/
Mike Pirerra, Manager from Buca di Beppo, and Lia Wrightsmith, Matching Grant Coordinator, with clients and Buca Employees, Seyoum Mebratie and Abou Ras Tutu (Photo taken by David Choy) http://david.choy.me/
Suburban Washington Resettlement Center, friends, and family. (Photo taken by David Choy) http://david.choy.me/