May 9, 2015

Flag of Afghanistan.svg   The first family we will visit this week is a family of four who arrived from Afghanistan on February 8th. The father (age 27) worked for a U.S. company in his home country. His affiliation with a U.S. company put the family in danger. The mother (age 28) had to leave her disabled mother and three brothers in Afghanistan. The couple has  two sons (ages 3 and 6 months). They are expecting another baby in four months! The father  just started a new job, so they have little money for their expenses. They need any baby items, and also clothes and toys for  the older children. They hope to be able to get a car soon which would make life easier for their expanding family in their new home.

Flag of Sudan.svg   The second visit will be to a thirty year old man from Sudan. After he fled Sudan he lived in a refugee camp in Malawi for 8 years. In the refugee camp he was unable to study or work. He arrived in Arizona on January 27th without any of his family. His mother and sister still live in Sudan. He speaks English and hopes to find work soon. He would also love to have his family join him in his new home.

Flag of Myanmar.svg   The last family we will visit consists of a a couple and their three children from Burma. When they lived in Burma they were rice and corn farmers. They fled from Burma to Malaysia. The thirty-five year old mother, their daughter (age 8) and two sons (ages 11 and 6) arrived in Arizona on January 27th to join their father/husband who has lived in Arizona for two years. The family is very happy to be reunited. The mother is energetic. She is very and excited for the opportunities the children have to study and better their lives in their new community!

This week’s families May 2, 2015

flagge-sudanThis man was resettled to the Tucson area in August of 2014 and made his way to the Phoenix area a short time ago.  He is originally from the Darfur area of Sudan.  He loves music, especially classical music and is an avid dancer.  He is working on his English in classes here and figuring out what he wants to do next.  He feels incredibly lucky to be here and likes the calmness and quiet of the United States.  He believes the safety and security we feel here in America is most important.

Flag_of_Iraq.svgThis family was resettled in March, 2015 and includes husband, wife and 9 year old daughter.  They come to Phoenix from Baghdad, Iraq where the husband worked in security and the wife worked in a factory.  The little girl is in third grade and learning English quickly.  She loves to ride a bike and wants to learn how to swim this summer.  Iman’s interests include sewing and knitting.  The father commented that the weather is similar here to Baghdad which he enjoys.  The family loves learning the new American culture and appreciates that they can live comfortably and securely.

flag_Kenya2From Kenya, the mother faced a great deal of hardship there, so she came to the U.S. The mother can’t return to Kenya. The daughters are 20 and 14. One  wants to be a pharmacist, the other is 14 years old, in high school. The reunifying of this family has been in process for several years and just happened last week. They are so excited to join their mother here.

April 25, 2015

800px-Flag_of_Cuba.svgThis first family is actually two and both has a lot to celebrate, the mother is 46 and used to be a gynecologist in Cuba. After a mission trip to Venezuela and Colombia and a stint in Miami she ended up in Phoenix sharing an apartment with another woman on the same mission who is a dentist. She has worked hard with 22 years of practice in Cuba and is looking forward to starting a new life here. She is even more excited to be welcoming her husband (also a doctor) and son who just arrived the night before. Her roommate was recently reunited with her son who is 11. Both sons first asked about how much a soccer ball would be so that they can save up for one. So far, she is working at a hotel and trying to work on her English. 


800px-Flag_of_Cuba.svgThe second family is a pair of sisters one is 47 and the other is 26. The eldest is a doctor while the youngest is a dentist. As it turns out they were both on the same mission trip from Cuba as the first family members. So far both of the sisters are working and are patiently awaiting their daughters (5 and 6 years old) and the younger sister’s husband to come. Currently the daughters are living with their mother. The sisters love music! The older sister likes almost everything except rap, which the younger sister enjoys. 


Somalian FlagAll with different stories and backgrounds, the third family is actually made up of 5 individual men in their later 20’s early 30’s from Somalia. Two of the men currently have jobs. Each gentleman has their own unique story about how they got to Phoenix. Interestingly enough, they all made their way to Malta before settling down here. One man’s journey took 9 years while others took about 4 to 5 years. The one whose journey took the longest has a 10 year old and a wife still in Somalia. He misses them and hopes to be reunited at some point. These 5 men act like brothers, creating their own unique family here in the valley. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Lay

Chris Lay: Delivery Driver and Salesforce GuruChrisLay

How long have you been volunteering with WTAP? 

My wife and I have been volunteering since we moved to Phoenix, so about September or October of last year.

Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working with WTAP? 

We have met so many people. The volunteers and refugees we meet are all great. What stands out to me the most are the refugees who were so well educated and successful in their home countries, but coming here that means nothing for them. You know they want to succeed and give back like they were able to do before. They just need a welcoming hand to encourage and assist them while they get their footing in this new country.

Why do you choose to donate your time to WTAP?

This is a great organization meeting a real need. So often we do work, sit in strategy meetings, or rant on Facebook about the needs of the world. This is a chance to actually make a difference for people, not just talk about it.

Describe an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.

Every weekend it’s obvious we are making a difference. We come in and most of the apartments are completely empty before we arrive. When we leave it looks like a home, a modest home, but still a home. Every time we leave a home and the family is crying, or have huge grins across their faces, it’s easy to see the difference this simple gesture is making.

What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?

I work with a social media training company and also work with another local non-profit full time.

What secret powers or talents do you have?

I speak over a dozen languages. (of course, that’s only about 1 word in each).