Open Letter to Akron's Refugee Communities

The following is an open letter to Akron’s refugee communities.  Please read and distribute widely to all concerned individuals.

PDF versions in other languages:

Open Letter to Akron’s Refugee Communities – Burmese
Open Letter to Akron’s Refugee Communities – English
Open Letter to Akron’s Refugee Communities – Karen
Open Letter to Akron’s Refugee Communities – Mon
Open Letter to Akron’s Refugee Communities – Nepali

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May 3, 2012

Dear Newcomer Community:

As the Executive Director of Asian Services In Action, I want to share with you a couple pieces of important news.

Last fall, we were awarded a contract by the Summit County Department of Jobs and Family Services (SCDJFS) to provide Refugee Social Services (RSS) to qualified refugees.  This contract allows ASIA to help you and members of your community:

Prepare for a job (like English classes and job training programs);

  • Find employment so you can work to support you and your family;
  • Access public assistance such as food stamps and child care vouchers; and
  • Find interpretation and translation services when you are seeking a job with a company

As an SCDJFS contracted agency, ASIA can now officially provide these services, which are similar to those offered by the International Institute of Akron (IIA).  You now have two providers that can help you with your employment assistance needs.

In the past there were concerns about whether or not you could utilize ASIA’s services without jeopardizing your eligibility for current or future services from IIA.  I want to personally assure you that this should not be a concern.  Over the last few years, IIA and ASIA have been working in partnership to ensure that the community has the support system necessary to thrive and prosper.  Under this RSS contract, ASIA’s staff will continue to work very closely with IIA’s staff to coordinate the best set of services for you.

In addition to sharing the news about ASIA’s SCDJFS contract, I also want to take the opportunity to announce our new partnership with Cleveland Catholic Charities’ Office on Migration and Refugee Services (MRS).  Earlier this year, ASIA began work with MRS to support the resettlement of refugees in Summit County.  To date we have resettled a small group of Chin people who are planting their roots in the City of Akron.  We are so excited to take these small steps, in partnership with MRS, to assist refugees in establishing themselves in their adopted home country.

As you can see, ASIA is very much involved in helping you and your communities.  We aim to work openly and in partnership with IIA and other organizations to support you.  As part of this effort to reach out to you and your community, please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.  Everyone at ASIA understands that you may have anxieties about not knowing the rules and guidelines of your resettlement.  My staff and I are happy to help in any way we can.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Michael Byun, Executive Director
(330-535-3263, ext. 233,