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News from Turlock, CA

Get the latest updates and event listings from the International Rescue Committee in Turlock, CA, and learn how you can help welcome newly arrived refugees.


NorCal communities welcome newest neighbors with holiday gifts

Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, IRC NorCal supporters continued a holiday welcoming tradition this year, bringing in nearly $15,000 worth of items for 60 IRC families.


U.S. Presidential Inauguration: What refugees and immigrants need to know

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is providing the following information for refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants about U.S. elections and the Presidential inauguration.


Support local refugee families this holiday season

You can make spirits brighter for refugee families, asylum seekers and other special immigrants this holiday season by purchasing items that will help them on their journey to self-sufficiency here in the Central Valley.


Meet NorCal's New Executive Director, Sarah Terlouw

Meet Sarah Terlouw, the new Executive Director for the IRC in Northern California! Sarah has a long history with the IRC. We are excited to welcome and introduce her to our community so we sat down for a Q&A.


IRC business spotlight: Mr. Gil's Market & Grill

Immigrants and refugees make up a sizeable minority of businesses for California and the Turlock/Modesto region. In that vein, the IRC in Turlock/Modesto is spotlighting refugee-owned businesses here in the Central Valley. The following is an interview with Baktash Rafiqyaar, owner of Mr. Gil's Market & Grill in Modesto.


IRC Turlock receives $350K grant to fight human trafficking

The International Rescue Committee received word this week that it received a $350,000 grant through the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for its Turlock office to combat human trafficking. The investment will allow the IRC to partner with the Alliance for Community Transformation to fight human trafficking in Stanislaus, Merced, Mariposa, Mono, and Tuolumne Counties.


Register to Vote Here!

1 in 10 eligible voters are new Americans! The IRC is here to support with voter education to support naturalized citizens and eligible voters. If you are not eligible to vote, do not register to vote as it will have consequences on your immigration status. If you are not yet a U.S. citizen, contact the IRC's immigration services by calling or texting (408) 472-3675.


Meet Sarah Terlouw - Executive Director in Northern CA

It is with great pleasure that I share with you the news that IRC has welcomed Sarah Terlouw as the new executive director of the IRC Northern California offices. Sarah is not new to the IRC family. She most recently served as the country director for the IRC operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), consisting of 6 offices and a team of more than 700 staff across the country.


Third grader spearheads donations campaign to help refugees

Olive Cicon may only be 9 years old, but the Tracy resident already has amassed a team of volunteers to assist refugees and other special immigrants as part of her "passion project"--and she's giving $5 of her own money to kick off her campaign. The following interview between Olive and her mother, Nettie Cicon, details how Olive plans to assist beneficiaries from the International Rescue Committee in Turlock/Modesto, and how others can help:  


Refugee women gain tech skills during pandemic

Modesto Junior College instructor Emma Berdino didn’t have much hope when she learned her ESL class would be forced to go online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Many of her students, all women from Afghanistan recruited by the IRC in Turlock, were too tech-challenged to use a phone app to complete their homework prior to the viral outbreak.  

“Most weren’t able to figure it out,” she said. “I thought, oh my goodness, we’re totally going to lose this class, because they’re not going to be able to do it.” 

Berdino is grateful to be wrong, as nearly two-thirds of her students continue to take the course remotely after going exclusively online.