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Announcement

Meet our direct service staff!

From left to right: Ashleigh Bundy, Christopher Cooper-Martin, Kailey Schamehorn, Tabitha Frey

Ashleigh Bundy, Interim Resettlement Supervisor

My college career advisor referred me to work as an intern at the IRC Wichita. From there, I was hired on in an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service to America) position, moved on to be the Intensive Case Management caseworker, and now, I am the Interim Resettlement Supervisor. From the start, I loved the organization and the resilience of the clients, so I wanted to stay around! I love this work because the clients are exceptionally resilient and positive. I am able to celebrate the seemingly little victories every day. I enjoy seeing clients contribute to the community and truly integrate. Since I have been at the IRC since 2014, I have witnessed clients purchase homes, cars, and gain citizenship.

Christopher Cooper-Martin, Employment Specialist

Before working at IRC Wichita I was working at Miracles, Inc., which is a substance abuse treatment center for homeless and low-income women and children. The moments that remind me of why I do this work is getting to see clients succeed and achieve their goals.

Kailey Schamehorn, Caseworker

I pursued a degree in International studies- I love working amidst different people, cultures, and languages. Working with refugees was the perfect space where I could advocate for various international minority individuals and families in effort to help them restart their lives and achieve self-sufficiency. Discovering refugee resettlement was and is the answer to my lifelong career. I can say with certainty that I absolutely love what I do, which is awesome.

While the big moments are fun and exciting, like getting a job, it’s the little moments of success that really make my heart happy. It’s when a client takes the bus by themselves and arrives to their destination, or make it to their appointment, or arrive on time or even early, or master how to use the stove, or just when they gain the confidence to go somewhere or do something on their own like paying rent/bills on time, all without me having to help out or remind them- it’s these moments that truly show that they are learning, growing, letting go, and moving towards self-sufficiency.

Tabitha Frey, Intensive Case Management Caseworker

I got started in resettlement when I worked at a summer camp for youth and my campers kept telling me stories from being in a refugee camp. I had no idea that people all over the world were experiencing these things. That summer with those youth is actually one of the reasons I became a social worker. I also lived in Thailand for a summer. I taught English, and did a community development internship. On the weekends I would travel about an hour north to a migrant camp city and teach at migrant youth clubs.

Before coming to IRC Wichita, I was a Resettlement Team Intern, and then the Interim Match Grant Program Coordinator at the African Community Center of Denver (under the umbrella of the Ethiopian Community Development Council).

My favorite moments are the times when you’ve been working with someone for a long time on something and it feels like you’re spinning in circles and then one day it just clicks! In Denver, one work morning, my supervisor asked me to work with a newer female client that had gotten lost on her way to English Class. The client was downtown, so I took the bus, tracked down this lost client, got back on the bus with her and took her to our office. On the bus, I went over and over her route to class and then to our office (it was a straight line, 1 bus). I even ‘tried’ to teach her how to use google maps. No matter what I said I got blank stares. Later that day, I told my supervisor I was sure she was going to get lost and not make it to class. And actually, that did happen. But two days later, the client came into the office absolutely beaming. She had made it on her own without getting lost. For months she would tell anyone who would listen that, “Tabbie taught me how to ride the bus!”

Introducing the newest member of the Direct Service Team: Claire Branstetter, Caseworker

I met an asylum-seeking family at a garage sale in the summer of 2016 while working for a local neighborhood organization in Wichita. The mother and I became friends, and after seeing her struggles and triumphs to become part of the community, I wanted to learn more about immigration and integration. This experience lead me to write my senior research project on Refugee Integration in Wichita, KS – I was fascinated. Since then I have been looking for career and volunteer opportunities in the field of immigration and I am ecstatic to have found this position with the IRC in Wichita!

Most recently, I contributed research assistance for several congressionally mandated reports (including the Condition of Education and the Digest of Education Statistics) while working at American Institutes for Research in Washington DC.  Before DC, I attended the University of Kansas and graduated in 2017 with Bachelor’s degrees in International Studies, Economics, and Political Science.