Young Advocates Keep CVT Looking Fresh | The Center for Victims of Torture

Young Advocates Keep CVT Looking Fresh

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fakhria Ghulam Hussain is CVT Atlanta's mental health case manager.

How do you say Welcome in 13 different languages?

That was the task I gave to seven volunteers who recently visited CVT Atlanta from Break Away, a national nonprofit that brings college students across the nation together to participate in “alternative” breaks focused on different social issues.

Burmese, Swahili, Arabic and Spanish are just a few of the languages CVT’s torture survivor clients speak, and we want each and every one of them to feel welcome when they see us. The Break Away volunteers hand-painted a sign that reads “Welcome” in each client’s native language. It now sits above our fireplace in the waiting room for all of our clients to see. 

The hard work of our Break Away volunteers didn’t end there. Some washed windows and cleaned the clinic’s outdoor porch, while others helped Darlene Lynch, CVT Atlanta’s head of external relations, with development duties. They licked stamps, stuffed envelopes and helped brainstorm fundraising initiatives.

Darlene also participated as a panelist at Georgia’s Integration, Access and the Experience of New Americans program, hosted by  Break Away in partnership with Atlanta’s Emory University. The panelists featured members of the Clarkston, Georgia, refugee resettlement and service community, including Mayor Ted Terry from the City of Clarkston, where CVT is located.

The group addressed questions such as: How would you distinguish integration from assimilation? What does a welcoming community look like? What are the common narratives surrounding refugees and immigrants today, and how might they change? 

Meanwhile, back at the clinic, it was a joy and an inspiration to witness young adults demonstrate active citizenship here in Clarkston. They’re the very definition of what a welcoming community looks like. In fact, their youthful energy was so infectious, I already have a new volunteer project idea: making a small library in the corner of CVT Atlanta’s waiting room for clients and their children. Right now there is a middle-schooler collecting books with his mom in the languages CVT clients speak, so stay tuned for an update!



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