Angelique’s Story

Angelique—A Strong Woman Mar 2 2024 Born and raised in Democratic Republic of Congo, Angelique fled DRC for Kenya in 2015.  She was not able to study in Kenya. “My biggest dream was to come to the United States, continue my education, and become a doctor.”  In early October 2023 Angelique’s brother, also a refugee, was resettled in Harrisonburg and later …

Dance in the Community

After School Dance ProgramMar 1 2024Dance in the Community was more than just a series of steps and movements. It was a platform for refugee and immigrant children to express themselves in a new environment, using the universal language of dance. Every Tuesday from 4 to 5pm in the month of February, the Massanutten Regional Library echoed with sounds of …

Halloween Fun

Halloween Fun!Nov 2 2023Halloween Fun!  On October 31st, CWS staff member Rebecca Sprague, organized and hosted a Halloween party for our clients. Many of the individuals and families we serve come from cultures where Halloween is not a familiar holiday. This event held a special significance as it played a role in their cultural orientation, introducing them to American traditions …

Erin’s story

Erin’s StoryAug 30 2023 Erin is one of CWS’s R&P (Reception and Placement) interns this summer. Although her title also includes the ECAR (Every Campus a Refuge) intern/liaison between JMU and CWS, but most of her work is done at CWS’s office with the case managers. Her interest in the refugee experience was sparked by a class she took at …

A DC trip for Refugee Youth

A D.C. Trip for Refugee YouthAug 28 2023This August, CWS summer intern, Abraham Mekonnen organized a memorable trip for refugee youth. CWS Harrisonburg staff and High School new arrivals were given a unique opportunity to learn about American culture and history while having fun. The journey started at the Planet Word, a museum that engaged the children with interactive galleries …

Village to Village

From Bare Walls to Welcome Home!Aug 25 2023Beginning in 2020, Village to Village began collaborating with CWS to benefit refugee families moving into the Harrisonburg area. “Initially, we worked in other countries. And when we were about two years in, we realized we needed to partner with somebody local… So then I started researching and found Church World Service.” Heidi …

Lianna’s Story

Lianna’s StoryAug 22 2023 Lianna is one of CWS Harrisonburg’s immigration interns. She was born in Cuba, but now lives in the Harrisonburg area, and attends the University of Chicago. As an immigration intern, her work varies daily. “I work with Lucia who is our main legal representative here. Most of what I do has to do with paperwork. So …

Lewam’s story

Lewam’s StoryAug18 2023 Lewam works as a case aide at the CWS Harrisonburg office. Her position involves a wide range of responsibilities, from “taking clients to their appointments, to grocery shop, setting up a house…going over their papers, like letters and stuff like that, and helping case noting” Lewam said. Usually the type of work “depends on the week, or …

Fitihawi’s Story

Fitihawi’s JourneyMay 30 2023Fitihawi Gebremeskel arrived in the U.S. in August of 2014 from Eritrea accompanied by his mother and younger brother. They landed in Columbus, Ohio, where they stayed for 2 months before moving to Harrisonburg. Fitihawi enrolled at Harrisonburg High School and graduated in 2018. Around the end of his high school career, he got a job in …

Samuel’s Story

From Client to Advocate: Samuel’s inspiring JourneyMay 30 2023 Samuel arrived in Harrisonburg on January 23, 2020, but it was not a direct journey. Samuel was born in Eritrea. In 2015 at 13 years old, Samuel and four friends travelled from Eritrea to Ethiopia where they were met and welcomed by his uncle. He lived in Ethiopia for four years …