News & Views

Weekly Wins Round-up: May 2023

Dear Friend,

As we step into both Immigrant Heritage Month and Pride Month this June, our hearts are with the LGBTQIA+ communities in Uganda, where the Anti-Homosexuality Act just made being gay punishable by lifetime imprisonment (and, in some cases, subject to the death penalty), and all other nations where they are persecuted.

Read on to learn about reasons we can still be hopeful, and I hope to see you on Wednesday, June 21st, at 6PM, at the United for Immigrants Benefit Concert at the Philadelphia Ethical Society in Rittenhouse Square, to support HIAS PA’s work helping immigrants build new lives.

Five-year-old English language learner learns how to write her name!

The parent of one of our PreK-8 Newcomer ESL after-school program students recently called to share that, while filling out a form, her 5-year-old daughter wrote her name on the paper all by herself! The student (pictured above with another student during an egg-coloring activity to celebrate Nowruz) attended both the fall and spring semester of our program. She has not yet started school, so her mom was so excited and immediately called us to thank the HIAS PA team for teaching her daughter so much English!

-Parisa Khoshnood, Youth Education Case Manager and PreK-8 Program Coordinator

Legal aid opens the door to new immigrant families in Philadelphia

HIAS PA staff has been organizing and providing legal screenings for families that arrived in Philly on the buses sent by Gov. Abbott of Texas. The legal screenings will help us determine the families’ eligibility for an upcoming asylum clinic in June. We are thrilled to be able to be part of a city-wide contingent to welcome and provide legal support to these families!

-Brenda Nogales, Crisis and Humanitarian Response Program Manager

Wellness Program participants bond at the Magic Gardens!

This month, the Immigrant Health and Wellness Program’s Wellness Wednesday Program took a field trip to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens to celebrate the end of our semester. We chose the Magic Gardens because many participants expressed a love for mosaics during our monthly art classes. The participants were so excited to meet each other face-to-face after being in online classes together for the past few months, and it was so sweet to see everyone hugging and getting to know one another in person. We had students in this group who have been in Philadelphia for only 4 months alongside students who have been here for 6 or 7 years. It was wonderful to see everyone in person and to get to appreciate Philly’s art together!

-Anna Shaffer, Immigrant Wellness Group Program Coordinator and Case Manager

I hope these wins from HIAS PA staff give you a lift, as they do me. Look out for more wins at the beginning of next month, and I hope to see you at the Benefit Concert later this month!

In health,

Cathryn Miller-Wilson
Executive Director