It will be the one year anniversary of the arrival of the Altyara family on June 29th. Much has been accomplished in this initial year. People’s Church has been pivotal in their success as they resettle in their new county.

Here is a brief update on each family member and what lies ahead for them.

Khaled:  We area currently looking for a job in Kalamazoo that will give Khaled more hours and a higher wage.

Fatema: She has taken and passed her written test to get her driver’s permit. Next step will be to teach her how to drive!

Adham: We will be trying to help him find a job after Ramadan (approximately May 27th – June 27th, exact dates depend on the moon’s cycle). He can do jobs like bagging groceries, being a grocery cart corral person, washing dishes in a restaurant, etc. He has become quite proficient at riding the bus to destinations he wishes to go to and is very independent.

Molham will complete one year of high school in June. He wants to pursue a high school degree so will be taking a dual program of ESL and Adult Education Classes in the fall to prepare him to take and pass the GED exam. He expects to work full time hours this summer at his current job at Shawarma King.

Moayyad will complete his first year at Kalamazoo Central and is going to be allowed to attend one more year.  We plan to help him secure a summer job to help support the family.

Omar and Abdullah have greatly enjoyed their school experience at Arcadia Elementary this year. They will be attending Maple Street Middle School next year. They will be attending summer school, where ESL classes will be part of the curriculum.

Going forward: When they reach June 29,  2017, they are eligible to apply for their green card.

People’s people continue to donate items that are needed as well as provide financial donations that the committee uses to pay for such things as root canals (very expensive!) and car insurance. The Altyaras have been very judicious and careful about saving money and are becoming oriented to how American families usually need two incomes to support a family. This is a process for them; coming to understand how things really are in America.

While some of the other church co-sponsors in our community have told their refugee families that their commitment to them ends at the one year anniversary of their arrival, we have told the Altyaras that we will not end our commitment to them at any fixed time—that our vision is to assist them until they get to a point where they are able to function independently and have the language skills and cultural understanding that will allow them to be successful in America.

Needs: Financial donations are always appreciated. Our church members and community members have been very generous!

Items and Services that they need: gardening tools such as trowel, spade, hand size rake, small shovel, gardening gloves, etc. They will be planting a garden in June. They need help identifying weeds in their front beds and perhaps adding some flowers or perennials. Their backyard is almost entirely dirt—as it is so shaded, grass does not grow.  Anyone with experience growing grass in shaded areas who would like to lend their expertise and labor to accomplish reseeding the grass, would be very much appreciated!

Also items that are always appreciated are personal care items: soap, detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.  These are all things that food assistance does not cover, but are needed.  There is a box on the table at the top of the stairs to collect these items. They could also use outdoor furniture—they have a very nice deck.

Celebrating: There is much to celebrate in all that we have accomplished together; our church, our resettlement team and most of all the amazingly resilient members of this family. Thank you to all who have participated, contributed, shared your time and skills, and given your love!

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