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San Diego: IRC September 2019 Highlights

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International Rescue Committee in San Diego: Our Impact this Month

A Taste of the IRC raises $120,000 to support refugees in San Diego

Emerald Lembe, originally from the Congo, spoke about his work as a filmmaker in Uganda. He created a short video for the event called A Day at the IRC, which gives viewers snapshots of IRC programs and their impact. Emerald, an IRC client himself, and his family was resettled to San Diego on February 3rd of this year.

The International Rescue Committee in San Diego hosted the 12th Annual A Taste of the IRC dinner and welcomed over 300 guests to experience first-hand what refugees bring to the table – from international cuisine to art from around the world, the event celebrated the culture and contributions of San Diego’s refugees. Through ticket sales, sponsorships and on-site donations, A Taste of the IRC raised a total of $120,000, the most raised in the event's twelve-year history, to support refugee families in San Diego. You can read more about the event, including featured food vendors and refugee artists here.

Using transportation, the IRC's Vocational ESL Plus Class empowers refugees to access employment opportunities 

VESL Plus participants learn more about public transportation as an empowering tool to get them to and from work and employment trainings.

On September 12th, the IRC's Vocational ESL (VESL) Plus class, an educational course that teaches refugee clients work readiness curriculum and skills, took a trip from the IRC Office in El Cajon to Balboa Park as a lesson on how to use public transportation.  As a part of the class curriculum, VESL instructors go over how to use the ticket machines, learn how to navigate a trip using mobile phones or on a map. They also talk about safety and etiquette while using public transit and we review signs, timetables, and how to ask for assistance. In addition to the trip being a lesson on using the public transit system, participants also find time to enjoy Balboa Park. 


IRC Immigration Department hosts graduation ceremony for new Americans

The IRC Citizenship Preparation class celebrated the culmination of the course with a graduation ceremony on September 21st.

The IRC in San Diego offers many programs to meet our goals of improving outcomes in health, safety, economic well-being, education and power for our clients - and one important step for those who have resettled in the United States is naturalization. Becoming a citizen allows clients to have access to the full host of rights and privileges as those born here. This week, over 60 clients in three different classes completed a 10-week Citizenship Test Preparation course, where they honed their English skills and took a journey through the history of the United States. 

Refugee Voices initiative launched at the IRC in San Diego

Over 40 attendees participated in an interactive mapping activity, where individuals identified issues in their communities. Family reunification, refugee resettlement numbers and affordable housing were often cited as a concern for both former and current refugees in San Diego. Photo: Fady Amin

“I like the way people have started coming up with great ideas. It’s so encouraging and we need more of such meetings for people to speak up.” - Emerald, IRC client and event attendee. The IRC in San Diego recently held an informational session for former refugees, current refugees, new Americans of all backgrounds and community partners and advocates about Refugee Voices, an initiative across IRC offices in the U.S. to provide new Americans with a platform to share their story and learn how to advocate for themselves and their communities. 

Come by this Saturday to the IRC's Pop on 30th marketplace for delicious eats and fresh produce!

Visit IRC's MAKE Cafe this Saturday!

Have you been to the MAKE Garden Café in North Park yet? The cafe is open every Saturday from 11am to 2pm and is a job training social enterprise café with Project CHOP salads and mini-platters, seasonal beverages (currently mint lemonade and hibiscus tea), scones and currently, fresh, hand-made tamales (by our recent food business incubator grad, Martha)! You can also get fresh produce from the FarmWorks farmstand and enjoy a fall farm tour. The Café is operated by refugee and immigrant youth. Project CHOP products are produced by participants in our job training program. And all proceeds go straight back to IRC programming. You can also support our Food and Farming Program by ordering from Project CHOP's Fall Catering Menu for upcoming events here

Find us at 3725 30th Street in North Park (2 blocks south of University Avenue) at the MAKE Garden Cafe!