A group photo on the Georgia State Capitol steps.
Photo: Courtesy of CRSA

On February 13, 2024, the IRC in Atlanta’s staff, clients and volunteers joined over 200 fellow advocates at the Georgia State Capitol for the eleventh annual New Americans Celebration (NAC). Hosted by the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA), the New Americans Celebration is the annual day of education and outreach for refugees, immigrants and Georgia community members who support them.  

A hand holding up a sign with the number 7
Photo: IRC Atlanta

With “Georgia Loves Refugees” t-shirts and red bags spread throughout the Capitol all morning, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were able to engage with Georgia’s community of new Americans and hear their stories and contributions first-hand. IRC staff were on hand as team leads to help guide guests through the day’s activities, including sharing informational packets about the CRSA’s legislative priorities for the 2024 session, including H.B. 264, H.B. 127, and S.B. 264., which would strengthen protections for tenants, increase language access for immigrant parents, and grant in-state tuition access for refugee immigrant students respectively. 

READ: CRSA's 2023 Annual Report 

We are also very proud of IRC Connect 2 Success alumna, Sandrine, whose story is also highlighted in CRSA's Annual Report: 

21-year-old Sandrine was first welcomed by a CRSA organization in Atlanta in April 2022 after she and her family of seven, originally from Zambia, were resettled through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Talented, driven, and soon co-enrolled in the Connect 2 Success and Career Development programs, Sandrine began working with Sam Camirand, Career Pathways Specialist, and Carlos McClaney, Youth Career Readiness Coach, in October 2022 and with their support, completed the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC).   

Now working for a CNA agency that allows flexible shifts across multiple locations, Sandrine shared, “It’s the kind of job I never thought I would have. As a student, it is very flexible, I can make my own schedule and choose when I want to go to work.” 

With a firm educational foundation established and dreams to grow her medical career, Sandrine worked with Carlos to complete her college application to Georgia State University and her application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and started at the Clarkston campus—majoring in Nursing—in Spring 2023. 

A group photo in the Georgia state capitol
Photo: IRC Atlanta
GA House Rep. Jasmine Clark and IRC staff member Amanda Paniagua
Photo: IRC Atlanta
Clarkston mayor Beverly Burks and IRC staff member Nafeesah Wasir
Clarkston mayor Beverly Burks and IRC staff member Nafeesah Wasir.
Photo: IRC Atlanta
A group photo on the Georgia State Capitol steps.
Photo: IRC Atlanta

Thank you to all who joined us at the Capitol on February 13—especially our hard-working clients! We are proud that the refugee resettlement program has such strong, bipartisan support from Georgia's elected leaders.   

Read more about the NAC in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 


To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Director, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.  

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