Mr. Frederick A.B. Jayweh and colleagues formed the Center for Immigrants and Immigration Services (CIIS) after the then "Rocky Mountain Survivor Center" (RMSC) which, was the primary center in Colorado responsible for refugees and asylum seekers closed in 2009. In a collaborative agreement, CIIS joined with two other non-profit organizations led by Dr. Bakary J Sonko and Mr. Rashid Sadiq, who were both African immigrants and former refugees respectively. The objective of this union was to conserve their resources and maximize the use of their capacities for the people they serve which were and remain primarily African refugees, immigrants and asylees. According to the Migration Policy Institute, 35,000 African immigrants live in Colorado in 2014, mainly around metro Denver. Many of these originated from over 30 African countries. The Center for Immigrants has a total of ten staff and provides a little over 2,000 support and services per annum to about 2,000 asylees, refugee and immigrant households and family members in support and services offered and provided at Center for Immigrants
The average budget of Center for Immigrants and Immigration Services CIIS per year is about $450,000 which comes primarily from the Federal Government, Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and some local Colorado local foundations in metropolitan Denver which include, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust Foundation, Caring for Colorado Foundation, Anschutz Family Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, The St John’s Cathedral Church, Montview Presbyterian, UN Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT) and other partners.
Programs AND SERVICES
The programs and services that the Center provides to its clients are designed to cover areas that refugees, immigrants and asylees mostly need when they arrive in their new country of residence, USA, and before they become fully resettled and integrated into mainstream society. These include, 1) Social Services, 2) Immigration and Legal Services, 3) Behavioral Healthcare Services, 4) Healthcare Services, and 5) Dental and Oral Healthcare Services. These services are briefly broken down specifically outlined below:
- Social Services: a) Conducting English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and employment readiness and vocational training classes such as computer literacy; and b) Providing transportation in the form of monthly regional bus passes, to assist participants in meeting with attorneys and doctors, and attending worship services and other psychosocial community events necessary for their healing and recovery process; c) Providing weekly food delivery services to needy families and individuals.
- Immigration and Legal Services: Over the past 12 years, the Center for Immigrants has built good working relationships with many institutions including the University of Wyoming Law School’s Asylum Project, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Asylum Project, Colorado Asylum Project, Volunteer Immigration Lawyers of Colorado, and other private immigration attorneys who are passionate about providing representation and pro bono legal services to victims of torture, asylum seekers, asylees and refugee families. Additionally, Center for Immigrants has a Part-time Immigration attorney whose services it uses to facilitate the immigration legal-related benedicts and issues of its clients.
- Health Care Services: Refugees, generally have immediate and urgent healthcare needs directly related to the experience and abuse they suffered in their home countries. To timely meet these needs, the Center has sought and obtained the collaboration and support of many healthcare institutions around metro-Denver. These include the University of Colorado School of Medicine, St. Joseph Exempla Hospital, Denver Health Hospital or Denver General Hospital, etc. These institutions and professionals provide pro bono services to Center for Immigrants’ clients who need their help.
- Behavioral Healthcare & Counseling Services: Behavioral Healthcare is much needed in the communities we serve because of the trauma and human right abuses most refugees and asylum seekers suffered prior to arriving in the USA. Center for Immigrants provides both in-house and community behavioral healthcare education on topics discussions that include: i) Stress Reduction Techniques, ii) Information on psychotropic medication-facts and myths, iii) How to help a loved one with a behavioral health need, iv) HealthCare and Behavioral HealthCare Laws in the US, v) Workshops utilizing art for creative expression and community building, vi) Relationship between Nutrition and Behavioral Health, vii), and Parents’ education about Behavioral Health to help them understand their children’s emotions and behaviors.
- Dental and Oral Healthcare Services: To achieve this objective, the Center for Immigrants has reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with some dental health clinics in metro-Denver who receive and treat its participants. There are three main components to the Center for Immigrants’ dental healthcare program are: a) screening of participants for dental problems, b) treatment of individuals that are identified as having dental problems through cash assistance, and c) Community dental healthcare preventive education to help reduce the occurrence of dental related problems. Everyone who is identified as needing dental healthcare treatment is given a voucher of up to a maximum of $600 for his/her treatment cost at our collaborating dental clinics. The Center generally focuses on individuals who lack or who have inadequate dental insurance coverage in the nearly 40 African Refugee and Immigrants communities that Center for Immigrants serves.