IRCO served nearly 40,000 clients last year, here are a few of their stories. Take a moment and read some of the success stories of our clients and communities.

 
 

IRCO’s AIM Program takes student from refugee camp to Johns Hopkins in 3 years

After living my whole life in my country, Ethiopia, my father, my sisters and I left for the United States in October 2009, in quest of a better education and opportunity. Getting here did not come without a cost; I had to leave my mother and my brother back home in order to live here. I anticipated that I would easily fit in with students at school and be able to speak English in a short time, but I was wrong. What I didn’t know at the time was how IRCO’s African Immigrant Mentor (AIM) program would help me overcome these obstacles.

When I first began coming to IRCO’s AIM program in 2010, I only went because I got to see other teenagers who were in the same situation as I’m in. It was incredibly easy to relate to them and ignite conversations about our difficulties. We would then talk about our differences: what country we’re from, the cultural food, and the various types of cultural dances. Of course we also bragged about the number of languages we spoke. 

In the past three years, I have gained many skills and have grown so much because of the help I got through the AIM program. Having the opportunity to visit a multitude of colleges, go on fun, educational field trips with my peers, learn how to incorporate America’s culture and my culture, and make an impact in my immediate community has been a true blessing. As a senior in high school today, I realize how instrumental IRCO’s AIM program has been to my success. In fact, it is one of the main reasons that I got accepted into one of my dream schools, Johns Hopkins University. More importantly, it will continue to make an impact on me, and I will be sure to pay it forward.

To learn more about IRCO Contact Margaret Malarkey at 503-234-1541.

IRCO Success Stories

  • IRCO’s AIM Program takes student from refugee camp to Johns Hopkins in 3 years After living my whole life in my country, Ethiopia, my father, my sisters and I left for the United States in October 2009, in quest of a better education and opportunity.
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  • PET Sets Burmese Refugee on the Road to Self Sufficiency When Thay Ro first came to IRCO, he was placed in the pre-lit class of the Pre-Employment Training project after the initial language assessment.
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  • Former IRCO Arts Program Client Featured in Local Gallery Portland artist Minh Quang Phan was born in Saigon, Vietnam. After studying city planning and architecture, she worked as an educator and painter in both France and Vietnam.
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  • IRCO Receives the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award Arthur Balizan, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, has presented the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award to the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) for the organization’s outstanding efforts...
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  • Inspire Elizabeth is in the 8th grade at Harrison Park School. Her family is from Mexico and this is her second year IRCO’s INSPIRE program.
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  • ORSS Success Story (Sept 2011) After Olga and her husband passed the immigration interviews, it was time for the ceremony. As the Field Director introduced herself and welcomed the applicants, Olga started to quietly cry.
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  • Client success story #2 Miyuki (*name changed to protect client identity) began working with the RIFS program in 2009. Originally from Japan, Miyuki expressed that around the time she and her husband moved to the States, her husband became agitated...
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  • Client Encouraged to Beat Odds and Succeed in RVT Training Ms. Punam Bhattarai arrived in Portland, Oregon on September 24, 2009 as a refugee with her parents and three siblings. On November 10, 2009, Ms. Bhattarai enrolled in the Refugee Vocational Training (RVT) Project for the Direct Caregiver course...
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  • IRCO Senior Services Help Seniors Stay Independent These days, Irene Mason dictates her correspondence through a friend. A hip and knee replacement, shoulder surgery and a recent car accident make it hard for her to move around, and writing is difficult.
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  • IRCO Partners with Sunday Parkways Three IRCO volunteers and about 15 IRCO youth manned stations at this weekend’s Sunday Parkways on the Eastside of Portland. Sunday Parkways routes create traffic-free streets linking parks and great places to walk and ride bicycles..
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  • Local Youth Help Africa House Seniors Grow On April 11th, the students from Portland YouthBuilders' World CLASS began a service project at IRCO's Africa House. The immigrant and refugees primarily from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea expressed a desire to have garden spaces...
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