I left Kenya in 2009 because tribal clashes made it unsafe for me and my family. I was a Chemistry teacher for 26 years. It was difficult finding employment when I got to the U.S. The Welcoming Center helped me land my first job. Later, they gave me the tools I needed to launch a small business of my own. Today, my company employs 60 Pennsylvanians, six of whom were hired through the Welcoming Center.
When I came to the States, I hardly spoke any English. My case manager was very helpful because she talked to me, listened to me, and said, ``there are a lot of people who make it and you’re gonna make it too. You just have to be strong.`` I always dreamed of being a nurse, so I decided to become an LPN.
I worked as a medical doctor before I moved to the US with my wife. The first months were very hard for us. The Welcoming Center helped me find a job, and now I work in the medical implants field. It's amazing! I enrolled in the English for Healthcare Professionals course, and it was very helpful. I can't forget my teacher and the director of the program. I thank them so much because I'm expecting to go further along my path as a healthcare professional.
Living in America thousands of miles away from home is sometimes hard, but I am doing my best. I have come a long way from where I was three years ago. I could barely speak English, and now I am no longer taking ESL classes. I’m taking Chemistry, Biology, and many more difficult courses at Community College of Philadelphia - and all in English! If you met me three years ago when I first came to the Welcoming Center, you would not believe it!
I immigrated to the U.S in 2014 to start a new life. I started taking English classes because my English was very limited. The Welcoming Center helped me with my writing and speaking skills. I submitted my application to Thomas Jefferson Hospital University Scholarship Professional Community Health Worker Program. I was awarded a one-year scholarship!
My dream, even before I got married, was that my kids would study in the United States. It’s not easy to fit in when you come here. A friend told me about the Welcoming Center. Just casually, you know, I decided to try them out and I was thrilled. I was marveled at what I saw.
The year before I joined the Welcoming Center, I tried to learn some English but it was a horrible year. As the name implies, it really is indeed the Welcoming Center. I learned in the ESL classes and the Civics class about American society. They really gave me hope!