Childhood Dream Come True: A Story About Never Giving Up

As a kid, Berna listened to New Kids On The Block, watched MTV, and dreamed of living in the United States. After growing up in Turkey, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Econometrics, and spending 5 years working in procurement, Berna had the opportunity to make her childhood dream of moving to the United States a reality.

Pictured: Berna in front of City Hall

She scooped ice cream, delivered pizza, and drove for Uber. At times she felt hopeless but she never gave up.

In 2016, Berna won the green card lottery and took a leap of faith. She permanently moved to Philadelphia with only her luggage and $3000. She was alone in a new country but, she was determined, ambitious and excited about her new home, American culture, and freedom of speech. Unable to obtain a job in her field, Berna spent several years working in low-wage service jobs. She scooped ice cream, delivered pizza, and drove for Uber. At times she felt hopeless but she never gave up.

The IPP helped Berna reclaim her self-confidence and helped her realize that she was part of this city, that she was part of Philadelphia.

In 2019, Berna found the Welcoming Center and after some time she completed the International Professionals Program, a program aimed at helping foreign-educated professionals find professional employment. The IPP program helped Berna secure a fellowship with The City of Philadelphia Procurement Department and eventually led to her current role as a Procurement Technician with the city, but the program brought her so much more than work. The IPP helped Berna reclaim her self-confidence and helped her realize that she was part of this city, that she was part of Philadelphia.

Join us for the Solas Awards on February 27th and learn more about the men and women like Berna who come through the Welcoming Center’s doors every day.

Join us for the Solas Awards on February 27th and learn more about the men and women like Berna who come through the Welcoming Center’s doors every day. By buying a ticket, becoming a sponsor, or purchasing an ad in the program book, your contribution will directly support core services like the Immigrant Professionals Program that addresses “brain waste” and supports newcomers to develop the skills and resources to obtain meaningful family-sustaining employment.

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Welcoming Center