Refugees often find themselves warehoused in makeshift camps for years – or even decades. The lucky ones are eventually resettled by a generous nation to start a new life. But new struggles – especially for older refugees – then begin: trying to learn a strange language, adapting to new climates and customs. Who is the best to help with the daily tasks that natives take for granted: driver's license, bank forms, job applications, healthcare appointments, school registration for kids? It's often fellow refugees who came before. Like Leela Dhakal.
When Christine Mwangi's family won the U.S. visa lottery, they thought they were the lucky ones. Turns out the United States hit the jackpot when young Christine landed on its shores to become a role model for us all. The young pharmacist shares her story of inspiration and meeting the needs of women across the nation and the world.
An Aussie/Kiwi couple moves from Down Under to Up Over. Pamela and Craig Benjamin discuss their personal mid-life moves. Changing hemispheres and changing careers in the land of opportunity.
It was not an easy decision for Huynh Tran to put down his architect's dream in order to remold himself as a healer. The young Vietnamese refugee worked long hours to put himself, first, through architecture training, then, through medical training. Committed to giving back to the community that embraced him, Dr. Tran formed a medical philanthropy that ministers to underserved community and trains overseas physicians to improve their caregiving skills.
As a young kid, Adam Khafif was already developing a sense for business, working in his off-school hours for the family's cookie business. In high school, he launched a streetwear company, completing his first sale – to his aunt! With the dauntless spirit of an entrepreneur, Adam sharpened his focus, majoring in business at Babson College and cementing his vision for his LSNP clothing line. Today, he sells hip clothing, all the while incorporating his core values that set LisnUp apart in a very competitive industry.
Lola Audu is used to creating firsts in her adopted U.S. home. As an international student in college, she had to teach white administrators about unintended racism. As a real estate professional, she became the first black president in the 117-year history of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors. As a graduate of the Cultural Intelligence Center, she is now bringing cultural intelligence (CQ) to the real estate industry. Join Alan as he interviews the Nigerian native who has become a West Michigan force to be reckoned with.
David Castro understands hard work. Arriving in the United States, the Mexican native spoke little English but knew he had to work. Luckily, the manager of the Sears men's department was kind and gave him a job stocking clothing. And helped him learn English. Moving from retail to the catering business, David maintained that same work ethic, moving from Server to Supervisor to Manager. Today, he is the President and Partner of Applause Catering, the largest catering company in Grand Rapids, MI.
Sarah Wamujje Dieleman has two things nobody else has: 62 siblings and an elementary school in her hometown in Uganda. Our polyglot guest shares with us her personal roots and the notion of grassroots empowerment for children in her native East Africa.
After a quarter century in the United States, sociology professor Yan Yu shares her secrets about culture, education, friendship, and belonging.
From the Caribbean to Canada, Elysia James has traversed the expanse of North America. This U.S.-based physician talks with us about the complex issues of place, cultural identity, and the feeling of belonging.
Dr. Anan Ameri says she moved to Detroit, Michigan, from the Middle East for a PhD, but it was really for love. Decades later, she can step back and proudly behold the legacy of love that she has given her adopted community. Beyond the founding of two noble institutions (Palestine Aid Society of America and Arab American National Museum), she counts as her proudest accomplishment the mentoring of countless young women who are now leaders in their own right. A native of Syria, Dr. Ameri was recently inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.
It’s a long way from the tropical sunshine of the Dominican Republic to the snowy shores of Lake Michigan. Miguelina Quiñones has made not only a journey of miles but also a journey of emotional discovery to share her story of struggle and acceptance with us. Once an awkward immigrant child herself, she now works in a local school district that could be called the United Nations of the Midwest.
The saying goes that the eyes are the windows to one's soul. Unmistakably, there is a dancing intensity reflecting from the two shining panes of our coming featured guest. Raúl Alvarez is a high-octane communications strategist during the week. On the weekends, he trades his business suit for basketball shorts and plays some of the most fervent over-40 roundball in the city of Grand Rapids. He joins Alan to talk about empathy, personal identity and getting stuff done.
Graci Harkema is with us today because of what some people would call a miracle. Born sick and premature in rural Congo, she was left at an orphanage where she was expected to die. A visiting missionary saw the tiny baby in a back room and heard a voice telling her, "This is your daughter." Join us to hear one young woman's powerful story of survival, self-identity, and coming full circle.
What is a Japanese couple to do if their young son urges them to allow him to move to the United States to pursue his dream of becoming an astronaut? If you're the mom and dad of Yuki Takahashi, you say, "(Gulp)...yes!" Via Skype across the Pacific, the global astrophysicist discusses saving wildlife, living in Antarctica, and playing tennis on the moon.
In our everyday news cycle, there is the chance to hear lots of numbers that may ultimately mislead us. One way to make sense of those numbers is to take a closer look at the lives of the people that they represent. Enter: Inclusion Reporting. Alan talks with WGVU staff members about a meaningful project that digs behind the statistics of life at the margins.
Theresa Tran understands the fears of the immigrant voter. Her parents are Vietnamese refugees, and she circulates in the Asian Pacific Islander community, listening to stories. Feelings of uncertainty, the awkwardness of not fitting in, and even tales of intimidation. APIA Vote - Michigan is looking to change that. By getting the Asian Pacific Island American community to register and to understand the voting process. It is critical that all voices be heard, according to Tran, and she is working hard to ensure just that. Your country, your right, your vote!
"Would you do it all over again if you could choose?" an adult son asks his dying father. Jake Beniflah talks of immigration, personal sacrifice, and the stress of acculturating to a place far from home.