April 2013 Newsletter

Posted on May 06, 2013

The Center for New North Carolinians Newsletter

Building bridges among immigrant populations and existing communities throughout the state of North Carolina…

Happy Spring!

CNNC’s programs are thriving and new opportunities are developing. Many of you who recieve our updates are also great community partners. To any of you who have been involved at our events, we thank you!

In this Issue

  • One Summer in Damak
  • Community Activities
  • Agency Transitions
  • New Developments
  • Announcements

One Summer in Damak

Saturday, March 30, the CNNC held an open house for the community to view a photo exhibit demonstrating life for Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. The exhibit, “One Summer in Damak”, was put together from photos that were shot by students in Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics (KIE). A local artist, Harriet Hoover, volunteered her expertise to hang the photos. She commented, “While I was installing the exhibition, I had the opportunity to engage with this beautiful collection of photographs to piece together an informative and aesthetically pleasing visual narrative.”

Visitors from Greensboro came, as well as students from KIE and many Bhutanese refugees from Durham, Raleigh and Greensboro, totaling roughly 120 attendees. It was a happy occasion and the atmosphere felt like a family reunion. A large number of the adults who came from Raleigh were senior citizens who rarely had the chance to attend events. They reminisced over the memories that the images evoked and Bhutanese children from the Triad quickly made friends with those from the Triangle, eager to “add” each other on Facebook. Two men recognized a friend in one of the photos. They realized that that particular camp was no longer in existence and that that friend was now resettled in New York.

Khem Kkatiwada addressed the crowd with some opening remarks, “We should be proud to share our own history so that we will always be preserving our own immortal identity. We can utilize all modes of communication in order to demonstrate our inborn talents and skills. This is how we can introduce ourselves to other people.” The beauty of the day was in the fact that for a short time, the Bhutanese were the majority and the locals were the minority. For the day, they were free to dress, speak, and act comfortably in their native manner, a rare joy in their host country.

The exhibit will remain open to the public through the summer.

Community Activities

The Oakwood Community Center has been busy with community activities. On Sunday, March 10, they entertained a visit from Tony Nelson, a staff member and community organizer at Mexico Solidarity Network.  He met to examine issues within the Hispanic community and discuss how they can improve their collaborative skills.

Oakwood has also been preparing to host a Wellness Fair for this past Saturday, April 13, in conjunction with the Supporting Thriving Families program.  This event was open to residents at Glen Haven and Ashton Woods, two other community centers that are run by theCNNC.  The Wellness Fair offered various services like blood pressure screening, depression screening, and fire preparedness information but it was not all business. A Zumba instructor led an hour long class that was a big hit. The Supporting Thriving Families program, a joint project of A&T University, UNCG and CNNC continues to offer mental health support on an ongoing basis in this neighborhood.

Agency Transitions

The mission of RING, Refugee and Immigrant Network of Guilford, is “to ensure that all refugees and immigrants have the opportunity to succeed in Guilford County.” It seeks to develop an effective sustainable network of immigrants/refugees, service providers, volunteers, and donors; increase public awareness of the contributions of newcomers to our community; and promote mutual support and achievement within the newcomer communities. RING is now in its third year and has hosted or facilitated several community activities over this period.

RING is currently seeking additional board members from the newcomer communities. If you are interested or you want to nominate someone from the newcomer communities, please contact Stephen Sills or Esther Idassi, co-chairs of RING. They can be reached at: Stephen Sills – [email protected] or Esther Idassi – [email protected]. CNNC has agreed to facilitate RING activities over the next few months.

Lizzie Biddle and Raleigh Bailey will serve as liaisons for RING. In addition, Kathy Hinshaw, CNNC Latino Outreach Coordinator, serves on the RING board.  Please watch for upcoming events.

Additionally, the African Services Coalition has new staff, including Mr. Million Mekonnen, originally from Ethiopia, as the new Director, Megan Fair, as new Assistant Director, and Audrey Hart, a French speaker, as new Employment Specialist.  The long serving director, Dr. Omer Omer, took a new position in Washington DC in December. A few months ago the previous assistant director, Kathy Mitchell, passed away suddenly.

We are happy to note that Omer began his career with ASC as an AmeriCorps ACCESS member a dozen years ago, and Kathy was a long time AmeriCorps ACCESS field supervisor. Million and Megan also began their careers as AmeriCorps members at ASC, and had previously been hired by ASC in other positions.  Audrey did her social work internship through the Center for New North Carolinians, collaborating with ASC at the community based centers.

New Developments

The Montagnard Health Professional Association (MHPA) has been organized recently as in cooperation with the Research Fellows and under the advisory of CNNC. Their vision is to develop an initiative for primary health care and life styles that can help maintain and enhance the state of well-being of the Montagnard people.  Additionally, they plan to work for a healthy, fair, convivial, and sustainable community. As a non-profit organization of highly educated Montagnard professionals, they are able to serve as a contact group with the health care system and related agencies. There are many conditions that do not allow for these professionals to be re-certified in order to practice medicine in the United States. However, with this organization, there is the opportunity for the Montagnard health professionals to use their expertise to empower their community.

Another coalition has experienced a “growth spurt” at what could not be better timing with all the attention to Latino interests. The Latino Community Coalition of Guilford (LCCG) has received funding with the purpose of strengthening Latino leadership in our community. The mission of the LCCG is to bring a collaboration of leaders and community members together in order to develop increased advocacy, attention to networking and service learning in the Latino communities of Greater Greensboro. Coalition members will be attending Latino Legislative Day on April 24 to support immigrant rights for a better North Carolina. For more information email Kathy Hinshaw at [email protected].


El Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros (Children’s Day) is coming up on May 4 at the Center City Park in downtown Greensboro. For more information go to the Greensboro Public Library’s website at www.greensboro-nc.gov/index.aspx?page=3474.

Upcoming interpreter training! A two-day Foundations of Professional Interpretation for Health and Human Services training will be held April 18th and 19th. For more information about when and how to register, go tohttp://cnnc.uncg.edu and click on “Events.” For technical assistance, contact Susan Chilcott at [email protected] or 336.256.8617.

The women’s group Crafty Conversations will be having two sales in May. The first will be held at Ten Thousand Villages on May 10 from 6pm to 8pm. The second will be at the Glen-Fest Glenwood Multicultural Festival on May 18 at 815 West Market Street in Greensboro.

A big shout out to our interns who will be leaving us at the end of April. Thank you for all your work throughout the year. You will be missed!

If you are interested in volunteering with the Center for New North Carolinians, please contact Frannie Varker at 336.256.1067 or at[email protected].

Thank you so much for your continued interest and involvement. Special thanks to our friends in UNCG’s Office of Research and Economic Development.

Did you know…?
Participation in community centers and events is proven to “improve the quality of the physical environment…prevent crime and improve social conditions”, according to sources listed in the article “A Sense of Community in the Urban Environment.”

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