News & Views

Weekly Wins Round-up: February 2023

Dear Friend,

This past month, Welcoming America announced Philadelphia’s official Certified Welcoming City designation. We are one of only 18 cities across the US with this designation, and we are the largest city in the US to receive it. This designation is given to a city that has created policies and programs reflecting their values and their commitment to immigrant inclusion.

I couldn’t be prouder of HIAS PA’s participation in this process.

Part of welcoming newcomers is setting them up for success in their new homes. Join us on Monday, April 3rd, at noon, for an Ask Me Anything to learn about how immediate work authorization for asylees and new immigrants can change a family’s life and bring economic growth to our community.

82-year-old Liberian pastor becomes a citizen!

My 82-year-old Liberian client passed her citizenship interview! She’s a pastor and preacher in her church. She came from Liberia and gained asylee status, and then I helped her with her green card process through the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) program, and then helped her naturalize as a US citizen.

-Jessica O. Daly, Pro Bono Coordinator

“I believe in myself”: Adult ESL students learn about goal-setting and share affirmations

In one of our Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, we finished our unit on setting goals by learning about affirmations. Here are some affirmations written by our students:

  • I believe in myself, and I can learn English because I do things well and am a hard worker.

  • I want to be a good woman and help everyone.

  • I am a good listener and a keen observer. I can get a degree and a job. I am thankful for being a mother.

  • I want to learn English every day. I am proud of myself for having time to study every day. I’m thankful for being a father to my children.

-Eliana Stanislawski, Adult ESL Instructor & Citizenship Instruction Coordinator

Client receives work permit just in time to pay for a critical operation

My client recently found out that she needs to schedule a medical procedure and didn’t know how she was going to afford it. I called to let her know that her work permit finally arrived. Now that she can work, she can get money for the operation. She was almost crying, and I could hear the joy in her voice!

-Domestic Violence Initiative Staff Attorney

Clients are thriving in digital and financial literacy and employment programs!

We are now serving 50 clients in the Integrated Services Delivery program (ISD), which provides digital and financial literacy classes, along with employment services, to immigrants in the Greater Philadelphia area.

29 clients have completed our four financial literacy workshops, 5 clients are getting one-on-one basic digital literacy support, and 14 clients have completed our four intermediate digital literacy workshops. We also have 13 clients currently matched with employment mentors. I want to give a big shout out to the employment team, HIAS PA’s Community Engagement Specialist, Anneke Kat, and the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union for all of their support in getting ISD off the ground!

-Colleen Cronnelly, Economic Empowerment Coordinator

Look out for more wins at the beginning of next month, and join us at our annual Golden Door Awards, happening this year on Thursday, April 20th, at the National Museum of American Jewish History! Our annual fundraiser will celebrate those who work tirelessly in service of our immigrant neighbors. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Until then, I hope these wins from HIAS PA staff give you a lift, as they do me.

In health,

Cathryn Miller-Wilson
Executive Director