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Announcement

Meet our AmeriCorps Part 1

The IRC in Atlanta is thrilled to introduce our 2018-19 AmeriCorps service members, who have been serving across our Adult Education, Economic Empowerment, Resource Development, Resettlement, Social Adjustment and Youth programs since early fall. These eight AmeriCorps members will serve for around one year, and we could not be more grateful for their work and dedication.  

Each AmeriCorps member brings something unique to the table, and as we highlight them in this two-part series, their desire to work with the IRC in Atlanta, their experiences, and their passions will become evident.  

 

Aria Albritton 

Aria Albritton is the NDMVA Youth Futures Associate working in our Youth team. 

Aria Albritton, Youth Futures AmeriCorps Photo: Cory Hancock

Why did you want to serve with the IRC in Atlanta? 

I respect and appreciate the partnership that the IRC in Atlanta has with the Clarkston community and more importantly its commitment to honor refugees as people and not numbers. I had interned with the Youth Futures department for two consecutive summer camps and I loved it. Being AmeriCorps allows me to take on a new level of involvement with the same great age group. 

Name something from your background that has helped you with assisting clients in your program?  

I attended Clarkston High School, which has become pretty well-known for its cultural and ethnic diversity, but it wasn’t until graduating from there that I began to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of the community—not simply because of its diversity but because of the ability and willingness of people to go against what may have been comfortable for the sake of community and friendship. Because of that experience, I work hard to have that same spirit of welcome and openness. 

What do you spend time doing outside of the IRC and AmeriCorps? 

I spend a good amount of time trying to find good, cheap food along Buford Highway and at any local food festival. 

What plans do you have for the future after the IRC?  

This changes every few days, but a consistent passion of mine is to be involved in the work of community-led and -sustained development and revitalization in south DeKalb County. 

 

Tamara Hofer 

Tamara Hofer is the NDMVA Health and Wellness Associate working in our Resettlement team.  

Tamara Hofer, NDMVA Health and Wellness Associate. Photo: Jade Johnson

What does your role at the IRC entail? 

I ensure that our newly arrived clients are connected with a Primary Care Physician within their first month in the country. From there I help our clients to schedule specialist appointments as they come up, as well as making sure they have the transportation to get there. 

What's one thing you would want people to know about refugees and the work the IRC is doing? 

The work everyone is doing here is important and increasingly more difficult. Our clients here are also working incredibly hard to situate themselves here in a brand-new country and culture. It would be great for people to know that our clients are not just a number in an allocated amount of refugees allowed in the US and there is a reason why they would go through the extremely difficult resettlement process. 

What do you spend time doing outside of the IRC and AmeriCorps? 

I spend my time trying to find all the cheap or free events around Atlanta. I’ve lived here for year now and I feel like I don’t really know the city very well. This year I’m trying to change that by taking advantage of all the opportunities here like music, art, food, sports, anything.  

What has been your favorite moment serving with the IRC? 

There isn’t one single moment that jumps out as my favorite moment but instead it’s the gradual process of getting to know our clients, building a rapport, and feeling like I have done something to make the resettlement process a little easier by connecting them to services that they need. 

 

Karissa Barrera 

Karissa Barrera is the AmeriCorps Job Training Associate working in our Adult Education team. 

Karissa Barrera, AmeriCorps Job Training Associate. Photo: Cory Hancock

How did you decide on the role you're currently in?  

I was interested in the Job Training associate position because it seemed like an opportunity to work with students on an individualized basis. I also like that it deals more specifically with cultural literacy as it gives me an opportunity to have more of an exchange with people and learn about other cultures. 

What has been your favorite moment serving with the IRC? 

I think a lot of people share in this experience, but my favorite moment thus far was the day one of our students got a job after months of searching. She jumped in on a group interview—very impromptu—and everything fell into place. It was sad to see her go, but all her preparation really paid off and it was truly gratifying for everyone who had worked with her.  

What do you spend time doing outside of the IRC and AmeriCorps? 

At least one night of the week is always dedicated to trivia, another to Dungeons and Dragons, and the rest get divvied up between video games, entertaining my needy cat, and trying to keep up my Italian. I know Italian is a long shot here, but if anyone speaks it—please find me! 

What's one thing you would want people to know about refugees and the work the IRC is doing? 

If you volunteer with our ESOL class, you will end up laughing with a group of total strangers more than you ever have before.  

 

Taylor Devenney 

Taylor Devenney is the NDMVA Refugee Resource Associate and runs the IRC in Atlanta’s Shop of Hope as part of the Resource Development team. 

Taylor Devenney, NDMVA Refugee Resource Associate. Photo: Cory Hancock

How did you decide on the role you're currently in? 

During my interview, I was able to work in the Shop of Hope and get a glimpse of what this role was like. Shop isn’t like an ordinary shopping experience, it is quick, a bit chaotic at times, but you are able to watch clients find items needed to be successful. I enjoy asking clients questions about what they need and then communicating that to donors, I enjoy being a liaison.  

What has been your favorite moment serving with the IRC?  

One day a client brought in her three-year-old son and he was definitely having the time of his life! He wanted to touch everything and put items in new spots or just throw puzzle pieces in the air, all while singing “Baby Shark.” It was too cute to be mad. It is small moments like that where I just get to laugh and have fun with clients as they shop and find useful things. 

What do you spend time doing outside of the IRC and AmeriCorps? 

If I am not at the IRC, I am most likely behind the bar at Eventide Brewing sharing my love for craft beer. It is a neighborhood brewery in Grant Park and I am able to meet a lot of individuals and sometimes get a few to volunteer with me in shop or in classes. 

What's one thing you would want people to know about refugees and the work the IRC is doing?      

I come from a very conservative family. While we don’t necessarily agree on everything or sometimes anything, I try to tell them stories of my favorite times in shop.  I am hoping sharing stories with them and talking about clients’ desire to learn and grow in their new community can educate them from their misconceptions. 

 

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 Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at  or 678-636-8941.

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