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July 2019
Dear Members, Donors and Friends of RAMP,

Let me introduce you to the RAMP NEWSLETTER, our latest method of keeping you up to date on the various activities of RAMP.

As you know, since November 8, 2016, when our first family, the Tarakjis, arrived from Aleppo, Syria, to Newark Airport, we have added three more families, the Muniris, the Mashals and the Fazaelis, all from Afghanistan,

It has been a very rewarding experience for everyone involved. It is wonderful to see the lives of these families changed and enriched so much due to all of your efforts.

I would like to update you on new procedure that the Steering Committee has identified as a way in which we can keep you all informed. Our General Membership meetings will take place three times a year, in September, January and May. These meetings will consist of special programs designed to be of concern to the refugee community and to RAMP as an organization.

However, in order to keep you appraised of RAMP activities, between meetings, we will be sending you the RAMP NEWSLETTER between the General Membership meetings.

Our next General Membership meeting will be held on September 24, 2019, at 7:30 PM at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 32 Hillview Avenue, Morris Plains, New Jersey 07950. We will send you more information as the date gets closer.

I should also note that we are meeting at St. Paul’s courtesy of the Rev. Paul Olsson, our new clergy convener. Parking is much more abundant (and free!) at St. Paul’s. Rev. Paul replaces the Rev. Janet Broderick, who has moved on to a new clergy assignment in California.  Many thanks to Janet for helping get RAMP off the ground three years ago. 

Thanks also go to our communications team – Dave Sullivan, Tina Genest, Norman Lowrey and Mary Aktay – for their great professional efforts in keeping members and the public up to date on RAMP happenings.

RAMP was well-represented at the second annual Diversity Day on the Morristown Green on July 14. Sponsored by the new Diversity Coalition of Morris County, we had an information table visited by scores of interested people. The Muniri and Mashal families attended, along with many RAMP members.


If you have any suggestions or recommendations for RAMP and our families, please let us know.
 
Thanks again for your continuing support,
Gerry Gannon, RAMP Coordinator
Diversity Day 2019
Left to right: #1 Diversity Day Sign,  #2 Kirk Nixon, Tom & Mary Lewis, David Sullivan, Susan Nixon, #3 Carol Graham at Interfaith Service, #4 Ilene Manahan, #5 Ali Chaudry at Service, #6 Beverly Tignor & the Muniris, #7 the Mashals, #8 Paul Olsson, #9 Rebecca Mears, #10 Stand Up for the Other Pledge, #11 Kirk & Susan Nixon & Tina Genest, #12 Tom Lewis discussing RAMP with visitors, #13 E Pluribus Unum plaque.

Family Updates

The Fazaeli Family

RAMP welcomed its fourth family to the United States on June 9, 2019. The family consists of a young married couple from Afghanistan, Ali and Fariba Fazaeli. Ali and Fariba are fluent in English, hold university degrees, and have significant professional work experience. They arrived in the U.S. on a Special Immigrant Visa due to their work with the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.
 
During their first ten days, the family was hosted by Joan Belz at her home in Morristown.The Mashals (Fahim and Noor and Malika) prepared a traditional Afghan meal to welcome the family on their first evening.
 
RAMP is partnering with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Elizabeth in resettling this family. IRC is providing cultural orientation classes and financial assistance as well as other case management services. Ali and Fariba found the cultural orientation of particular benefit because the instructor and attendees were all Afghan and were able to share their immigration experiences in their common language (Dari).
RAMP housing, social services, health services and clothing teams have been busy helping Ali and Fariba get settled. The family moved into their new apartment in Madison on June 19 which was furnished with donations from RAMP members and faith-based organizations. The apartment is conveniently located within walking distance to shopping, services, and public transportation. Fariba has received her Medicaid card and Ali’s is expected soon. Permanent green cards and Social Security cards should arrive from the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan early in July.
 
RAMP volunteers are now working with Ali and Fariba to update their resumes for the U.S. job market and to develop strategies for each of them to gain professional employment in their fields.
 
Fariba and Ai have made great progress during their first weeks in the United States thanks in no small part to the extraordinary generosity and warmth of RAMP and its members.
 
Cheryl Bennett and Patrick Moletteri
Family Coordinators

The Mashal Family

The Mashal family moved into their new apartment in Denville in the beginning of June and they have enjoyed living there. It is within walking distance of the Mt. Tabor train station and several shops.
 
Fahim had been working at Opulux Glass, but that employment has come to an end.  He is still driving for Lyft and looking for other opportunities. He has applied to and has been accepted by the County College of Morris. He will need to take placement tests for English and math by August, and we are currently seeking a math tutor. Please let Carol Graham know if you have a contact with a math tutor who would be willing to volunteer the services. Fahim is considering a career in nursing. The House of 
the Good Shepherd in Hackettstown has a training program
for Certified Nursing Assistants beginning in August which would lead to a job with benefits for successful applicants. A special thank you goes to Dave Sullivan for helping us make this connection. This training program will fit very well with pursuing a nursing degree at CCM. We are still seeking other employment as an alternative.
 
Noor is doing well, staying at home with Melika and continuing with ESL tutoring provided by Rebecca Mears and Carol Graham. She has made good progress, especially with writing. Melika is doing well too. She is 7 months old now and at the last WIC appointment she was 20 pounds and 28 inches long.
 
Tom Graham
Family Coordinator

The Muniri Family

The parents and children of our second RAMP family, the Muniris, are doing very well.  We are proud that the husband has a very good job, their English capabilities are very good, and that they can manage all of their medical appointments, etc. They arrived in the U.S. a little over two years ago and have made the transition from recently arrived legal immigrants to that of a typical family here in Morris County.
The family, now pretty much on their own financially, recently asked if we could help them find a low-priced, well-maintained used car. Key issue – priced at $4,000 or less. If you know of a friend who is planning to trade in such a vehicle, please contact Tom Lewis
 
Tom Lewis
Family Coordinator

The Tarakji Family

Lona with her artwork (lessons and frames courtesy of Marie Hogarty); Jackie Bay with Lona at 5K Run; Lona & Max during trip to Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty provided by Jackie Bay.
The Tarakji family are having a busy summer with work on the schedule for Duha, Adnan and Mohammad and full day camp for Lona and part-time camp for Max. Max in enrolled in an extended-year school program in conjunction with camp. Both children will be back at the John Hill School this coming year. Tutors continue to work with the family as friends.
 
Duha and the children spent a wonderful day at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island around the Fourth of July. They were taken there by Jackie Bay, one of their wonderful tutors who have 
provided so much enrichment to their young lives.  Jackie also trained and ran with Lona at a 5K “Girls on the Run” race in Florham Park. Another volunteer, Marie Hogarty, gave Lona oil-painting lessons at the Boonton Recreation Department and then had the artwork framed for Lona.
 
Independence is what we strive for with our RAMP families and the Tarakjis are now independent in America thanks to all our RAMP supporters. 
 
Mary Gannon
Family Coordinator
 
Next General Meeting

September 24, 2019
7:30 PM

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
32 Hillview Avenue, Morris Plains, NJ 07950

 

See you in September!
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