A Better Life for Our Children
Many parents dream about their children becoming doctors and lawyers. For Said and Hodan, they had a simple desire for their children: access to education. When they discovered that this basic human right was inaccessible for Somali refugees living in Djibouti, they applied for resettlement to the U.S. With the help of RefugeeOne, Said and Hodan’s children are now succeeding in school and planning for bright futures.
CLICK HERE to read Said and Hodan’s story.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Implements the Buddy System in Hiring Refugees
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a dining group that manages dozens of restaurants in the Chicagoland area and beyond, has employed 22 of RefugeeOne's clients over the past year in locations like Beatrix, Scoozi! and Hub 51. Director of Recruiting Christine Hill talked to us about her relationship with RefugeeOne and the benefits of "The Buddy System."
How did you find out about RefugeeOne?
My first exposure to RefugeeOne was at a career fair last February. We had heard that another restaurant group had found luck filling entry-level positions by hiring refugees. Hiring recent arrivals through a resettlement agency like RefugeeOne usually works as well as any other way to connect with hourly workers, but the commitment of employment manager Stacey and employment specialist Carmen makes the process run more smoothly. They’re good at preparing candidates by walking them through interviews and talking them through the specifics of what they’ll do at work.
Not all of RefugeeOne’s clients are fluent in English. How do you deal with language barriers?
A kitchen is a fast-paced place! We don’t want anyone to feel lost or overwhelmed, so we use the buddy system. We’ll hire a worker with low English proficiency and pair them with a buddy worker who speaks English. For instance, we hired one RefugeeOne client who had a great work ethic and a sweet way about him, though his English was limited. By chance, he ended up at [Lettuce Entertain You restaurant] Petterino’s with his roommate, a refugee with more advanced English skills. They’ve both been working there for six months and are efficient in their work-- everyone in the kitchen loves them.
What inspires you about hiring refugees?
I remember the heat wave during Ramadan this past July. During daylight, our Muslim coworkers had to fast from everything, even water, so we had to figure out what could we do to help them while they were in the kitchen. We made sure to give them plenty of breaks and support. It was great--we get to learn from each other! Through hiring refugees, I’ve learned so much about different cultures from around the world.
Join us for our Many Voices. One Vision. Gala
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Bridgeport Art Center - Sculpture Garden
1200 West 35th Street
6:00 pm - Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction
7:30 - 9:30 pm - Dinner and Program
Free Parking on Site
Elias Kasongo was resettled by RefugeeOne in 1994. As a young man, he and his fellow classmates peacefully fought for freedom before the campus was brutally attacked. He fled the Congo at the age of 22. Although his journey was often challenging, Elias has accomplished a lot. He worked his way up from cleaning crew worker to Senior Buyer at the Eli's Cheesecake Company, received a college education and is now married with three children. Join us at our gala to hear Elias tell his inspirational story.
CLICK HERE for more of Elias' story.
RefugeeOne is pleased to honor the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) with our Many Voices. One Vision. achievement award. Accepting the award is Bishop Wayne N. Miller.
CLICK HERE to learn more about our ELCA partnerships.
Our SILENT AUCTION features experiences that will allow you to meet and interact with refugees, learn about their cultures and traditions and hear stories of their journeys to their new home - America.
WE HOPE YOU CAN ATTEND!