I am here to serve students and their families in any capacity that\u2019s necessary.
There\u2019s no limit to the services I provide. There\u2019s a lot of work to be done here as
students and their families arrive here from refugee camps, not knowing anything
about the society here or how our system operates. My educational background\u2026
you want to know about that also?
A: I am UNCG alumni, I graduated with a BSW, that\u2019s a bachelors in social work. I\u2019m
somewhat bilingual. I speak Spanish and English, of course. The Spanish probably
about a 7th or 8th grade level. My family background\u2026My mother is from Argentina,
my father is from Vietnam. I\u2019m the oldest of 7 children. I grew up helping my family
members, serving as interpreter or guide in many ways, so I just feel like it\u2019s my
calling to continue on this life journey in many ways as a service provider.
I: sounds good. Where did you say you were from again?
A: from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I: how long have you been in Greensboro?
A:I\u2019ve been in Greensboro since 1998.
I: Oh yeah? Sounds good, sounds good. Umm, lemme see, anything else about you
where they were enslaved. Um, his family escaped the camp and fled through the
jungle of Cambodia into Thailand where they were housed in a refugee camp until
they came here. My father from Vietnam, he came towards the end of the Vietnam
War and escaped by boat. He came to Malaysia, was in a refugee camp, and, uh,
went to California first and the refugee organization moved him to Philadelphia
where he met my mother, who, she and her family came from Argentina. They had
to leave Argentina because of some political violence. My maternal family members
suffered from kidnappings and certain types of torture that my mother doesn\u2019t
really like to talk about.
I: Dang, that\u2019s an amazing background. You seem like you\u2019ve got some steal in your
bloodline. Yall are some strong people, I like that. OK let me ask you this\u2026we\u2019ll
switch gears a little bit and talk about the people you work with. Can you tell me in
what ways you work with migrants or deal with immigration
A: ummm, well all of our students here are either refugees or immigrants. As a
social worker I receive referrals from teacher or other staff if the notice something
isn\u2019t quite right, or if somebody may need help with something whether it\u2019s
physical, mental, behavioral, anything at all. The send the kids to me and upon
trying to meet their needs on the surface level, I always find things under the
surface that need to be addressed. I do everything from advocacy to simple things
like helping families meet their basic needs. But my overall goal is to help families
become self sufficient.
compassion among people.
I: I understand that
A: I guess you can sum that all up as love
I: oh yeah
I: I like that. That sounds good. How long have you done this?
A: I have been a social worker for 8 years. I served six years at another school which
was an alternative learning school for kids who were placed on long term
suspension, and mostly kids who were using or selling drugs, or in gangs. I came
here last year at the start of the school year. So I\u2019ve been working with immigrants
solely, maybe a year, almost a year and a half now.
A: Umm as a social worker I\u2019m working with kids and their families so it\u2019s not just
kids. When you\u2019re a social worker, it\u2019s the whole family unit. And um, the reason
why I chose to work in the school is because originally I was a education major. And
while doing my student teaching peace I was in an high impact school and I was
doing more social work than teaching and I found myself enjoying that. So I moved
on to a different major
I: Oh yeah?
I: I like that. Sounds good. Um, the immigrants that you work with, the migrants you
A: From all different nationalities. They\u2019ve changed a little bit this year from last
year because it all depends on what groups the UN allows to leave refugee camps
and this year we have a lot of Burmese, like we did last year. But we can\u2019t really call
the people Burmese because while they\u2019re actually from Burma, the people we
receive as refugees are the ethnic minorities from Burma like the Chin, Corin, the
um, Rohinger which are also known as Burmese Muslims. And we\u2019re also receiving a
lot of Iraqi students this year, which is very different because unlike the other
groups, the Iraqis have never been in refugee camp so their coming here directly
from the chaos so there\u2019s no resting period. So their needs are much different from
the refugee groups, some have sat in refugee camps for 10, 15, up to 20 years.
They\u2019ve had a long resting period.
A: OK the Iraqi students have a lot of behavioral needs because their coming from
the heart of a war. They\u2019re coming with a lot of aggression, depression, and grief.
The Burmese are coming with anger. The Burmese ethnic minority groups I should
say. They\u2019re coming with anger because in the refugee camps, where they waited
and waited, they had a lot of division in groups. Some were given more privileges
than others. For example the Muslims had no place of worship and the other groups
either had a Buddhist temple or a church, if they were Christian.
Now bringing you back...
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