Volunteer of the Month: Asad Tabchi
For all new Americans, the first few days after arrival here are tough, and adjusting to a new life in a new country can be difficult. One thing that can make a huge difference, though, is being welcomed by a community that is excited to see new neighbors arrive.
Over the past year, Asad Tabchi has been that welcoming neighbor for dozens of newly arrived refugees – especially those arriving from Syria.
Asad began welcoming Syrian refugees after meeting the very first Syrian family New American Pathways welcomed in 2015. Since then, he says, he’s partnered with our resettlement team to make each new arrival’s landing smoother by providing additional items for their homes, assisting with English language education and other educational support, helping family members to take their driver’s license tests when ready and, most importantly, offering social support.
Partnership is key to the success Asad has found in serving the refugee community. “I am always very excited to work with Safia and your resettlement team,” Asad says. “They are helpful, nice, and responsive.” Asad added that he feels his work with the resettlement team has been able to help refugees to “break the ice” and support communication between new arrivals and the New AP team.
It isn’t just the New AP team that Asad works with. While he is happy to do much of the welcoming work himself, he has also worked to build a strong network of volunteers who can be ready at a moment’s notice when a need arises. Asad and his community network stay connected through phone and text messages, and when the New AP team lets him know of a new arrival who may be in need of something – from a couch to a friendly visit – Asad and his friends are just a text message away!
But for Asad, the best and most important work he does seems simple – he visits with the families. Coming to their homes, socializing and helping them to feel welcome makes the greatest impact.
“Let me tell you that the most help refugees appreciate is the social help,” Asad says. “They need someone to talk with them and calm them down, they [are] scared from the unknown.” Asad remembers one family who was so grateful for a friendly visit that the father even tried to bend down and kiss his hands in thanks.
As more Syrians are scheduled for arrival, Asad looks forward to more people joining his welcoming community. “We really encourage our greater community to join to our group and help to welcome refugees,” he says.
We appreciate Asad and all of the community members who make Georgia a welcoming place for refugees and other new Americans.