POMONA, Calif .– Anne Thorward and her team of volunteers are getting ready for a busy week.
“We have 27 refugees, three military bases, and we expect them to arrive any day,” said Thorward, CEO of the Newcomers Access Center.
The non-profit organization aims to empower refugees and immigrant families arriving in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties to become independent.
Newcomers work with the local resettlement agency in Los Angeles, and Thorward makes sure arriving refugees are warmly welcomed as they try to adjust to a new and often scary world.
“Most of the people who come as refugees are due to trauma or violence in their own country,” Thorward said. “They don’t really want to leave.
It goes beyond providing housing for a few months. Newcomers connect refugees with resources who become prosperous and active members of society.
“We introduce them to the medical system, we help them get settled, we help them get their work permits,” Thorward said.
Amrat arrived in Southern California in 2017.
“When I first came to the United States, I met Ms. Anne and I was nothing,” he said. “I come here, zero. They help me with everything.”
Amrat is now happily employed and married to a baby boy. He no longer lives in a newcomer apartment but explained that Thorward is family forever.
“They help me all the time,” he said. “I enjoy it so I’m always happy. Mrs. Anne has done everything for me. I can’t say how much she has done for me. Everything.”
Seeing the growth and success of refugees like Amrat is the reason Thorward continues to move forward. No matter what it takes, she sees no obstacles. With open arms, she helps all newcomers feel at home.
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