We Welcome Your Support!

2017 has been a year of expanded services and new programs for RRRS. As you browse our website, you see new help for deaf refugees, foreign educated doctors seeking to get licensed here to help their people, more refugees receiving drivers licenses, an expanded scholastic program, more and better housing – the list goes on.

Our mission is to make our new neighbors successful and happy here in Rochester as they add flavor to our community with their culture. While numbers of refugees coming into the US has been greatly reduced, the numbers we are serving have gone up. Secondary migration from other cities in the US, and word through the network that we are here to help has generated a lot of activity.

Much of what we do is not directly funded. We rely on donations from folks like you as well as from our social enterprise, to make things happen. At this time of year, we especially welcome your consideration and support.

Our Medical Training Program
for Foreign Educated Doctors

photo of meeting of RRRS medical training program for foreign educated doctors

RRRS is involved in the Health Professionals Opportunities Grant (HPOG) as a partner with Action for a Better Community (See the HPOG update, below). As we enter our third year we were found by some foreign educated doctors (FED)seeking to become certified as doctors here in New York. During the summer of 2017 RRRS had intern Lilly Peiper research what it would take for an FED to get certified in NYS. It is a daunting task.

Foreign doctors must pass the same medical boards that domestic med students take. Early in November we created a study group led by Dr. Dali Yang (Neurologist from China) working on Medical Board Test #1. The group meets three times a week to study together. Each student must spend several hours each week in addition to group study to complete their studies in a reasonable amount of time (one year) for the exam. RRRS is pleased to supply the books and study materials for the group courtesy of a grant from the Stella Matutina Foundation. RRRS is reaching out to some area doctors to seek some mentoring for these folks. Adding physicians from refugee ethnic groups will greatly enhance health prospects for people.

RRRS English Classes 2017

photo of RRRS English class volunteer instructor Berka Mou

RRRS continues to run English classes in the evening in our computer lab. Berka Mou, teacher volunteer, is back with us running the program. This year we are using new software designed to move students from 3rd grade English to college entry level. This is especially helpful for our foreign educated doctors who need to pass TOFL tests to get certified. In addition, over the summer we ran a special English class through Finger Lakes Community College to help them continue college courses. Eight people signed up and six successfully completed the program. Our current class also caters to a couple of refugees whose English is very basic and who do not have time.

RRRS Driving Training Program 2017

photo of RRRS driving program 2017

RRRS continues to operate our driving training program. To date more than 40 people have obtained their licenses, and we have another half dozen signed up for road tests. New in December, some volunteers from Deaf Refugee Advocates (DRA) are joining us as driving trainers for deaf refugees. This is a real accomplishment and quite unique. We have been fortunate to have three more vehicles donated to us this year so that we can continue the program. A recent study shows that people with their own transportation are four times more likely to find and hold a satisfactory job. Kudos to our new drivers!

Health Profession
Opportunities Grant 2017

photo of RRRS Health Profession Opportunities Grant training class

Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services (RRRS) is partnered with ABC, Action for a Better Community, on a federal health grant, Health Profession Opportunities Grant (HPOG). The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program was established by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) to provide education and training programs in high-demand health care professions to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients AND other low-income individuals. This program is an important federal effort to improve the labor market opportunities of disadvantaged populations within the health care field. We are now in year three of the HPOG.

To date, RRRS has enrolled close to 120 participants. The program is designed to help these participants find a path to a career in the health field. Refugees and immigrants have unique challenges in that they need to be adept at English and pass education and English screening tests that are designed for Americans in order to enter training for certification. Our strategy has been to get our people into positions that do not require screening tests. This is not to say that our people are not conversant in English, but they are not familiar with American testing. We have found that nursing homes and senior care facilities like our people. These institutions are more interested in dependability and compassionate attitude, and our people fit that model. So far our job navigators have opened conversation with two senior living centers and two large nursing homes to seek spaces for our people.

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