When a newcomer lands on American soil, actually arriving can feel like a victory all on its own. After all, it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears just to immigrate to America. And while in a sense that chapter of their life has closed, their journey has only just begun.
As immigrants ourselves, we understand the unique trials, tribulations, needs, and triumphs that other immigrants from the MENA region will face. Together, we walk hand-in-hand with our brothers and sisters to take them through each step of the immigration process- from settlement to integration- until they are ready to take on the reins themselves as happy and fulfilled Americans.
Before a family even gets on a plane headed to California, Grace will have helped them find their apartment and book their taxi to take them to their new home to get settled. Grace’s Case Manager then helps the family enroll in school, get their government-issued IDs, sign up for their social security cards, and any other items they have to check off their list.
Grace provides weekly online ESL courses that are attended by an average 10,000 people per week. There is a fixed curriculum taught by a Ph.D. in English-Arabic Comparative Linguistics. The curriculum is culturally-focused and is based on how to enable newcomers to communicate with the community on a day to day basis in all parts of life, as well as how to understand and deal with cultural nuances, confrontations, or misunderstandings.
A large part of successful immigrant integration is passing the TOEFL proficiency level in the individual’s field of study. Therefore, Grace offers free online TOEFL that is typically viewed over 10,000 times. TOEFL classes taught by a professional volunteer instructor.
Most newcomers from the MENA region have almost no experience with the American way of financing. Therefore, Grace offers financial navigation and education services to ensure that newcomers are primed to succeed financially here in America. For example, with the help of our Case Managers, Grace helps clients open up bank accounts and open up a credit card; however, we also teach them about what Credit is, how it works, and how to use it responsibly and to their advantage. Based on the intake assessment, if it’s applicable we also teach newcomers about starting their retirement fund, how to apply for FASFA, and how to save for a property.
Grace provides vocational training and information for immigrants whose career may no longer be applicable here in the U.S., or for whoever wants to start over in the U.S. Vocational training includes careers such as Dental Hygiene, Mechanics, Medical Technicians (i.e., respiratory, ultra sound, X-Ray, etc.), and more
Grace Social and Medical Services has a 20,000-person network of jobs around the Southern California area, and therefore can help place newcomers at a variety of positions almost immediately. Utilizing our Facebook page “Grace Jobs,” clients can be placed in numerous starter jobs until they pass their TOEFL, career equivalency training, or vocational training.
Many immigrants who come arrive with their school aged children so that they may have more opportunities here in America. Grace therefore offers education on the career options for immigrant youth. For example, Grace offers information sessions in Arabic on how to apply and study for the MCAT for college-aged immigrants, how to apply for FASFA, and different career options.
Sometimes, some families fall down on hard times and need a little extra help to stay afloat. Grace manages and runs a food pantry for the entire Orange County community. Our food pantry reaches over 550 families from all different and diverse backgrounds each month.
Grace staff are legally certified to provide limited but free legal advice to immigrants, refugees, and asylees. If client needs go beyond the scope of what Grace can provide, however, Grace refers them to one of our community partners.