Relive the New American Festival in photos

Here are some great shots from The New American Festival taken by Hyunju Kim.  It was a fantastic day filled with food, art, music and dance from the diverse Columbus community. NwAmFst122

Donors change lives of Pakistani refugees

IMG_6929Story by Erica Newell, CRIS Communications Intern

Waris Enayat and his family recently received a generous donation in the form of a car. Waris and his family came to the United States about nine months ago as refugees from Pakistan. The car has drastically changed the life of him and his family. “I am so thankful to the family who donated. I am really thankful for the people who made it possible. Everyone from the CRIS office and the staff… I am so excited and happy,” he said.

The car has made job opportunities much more realistic. With the convenience of his own automobile, Waris can now make longer commutes. “I could not get to my job easily before. I could not go far without a car. Now I can get a better job. My new job is a twenty-five minute drive. The car has made it possible.”

Additionally, the car has allowed Waris to drive his kids to school in the morning before driving to work. “I can now take my kids to school because they don’t have a bus. I can also drive to church now which was all made possible with the car.”

Melissa, Waris’ daughter, added that, “We can go to the grocery store and school shopping now. Everything is much easier.”


CRIS’ Refugees Visit the Statehouse

A post by Sarah Taylor, CRIS’ summer communications intern

Recently, CRIS took a field trip with eleven of our clients to visit the Ohio statehouse in downtown Columbus. The eleven clients were all students in our English classes and early and advanced employment classes. This was the first trip to the statehouse for all of our CRIS clients and they were all very excited to see the “real America.”


Employment liaisons Mohamed Nuur and Tek Nepal organized the field trip after brainstorming ways in which they could expose CRIS clients to life in Columbus. The group they compiled was a proportional representation of the main refugee groups that CRIS serves, Somali, Iraqi, and Nepali refugees.

I sat down with Mohamed Nuur, one of our employment liaisons, to hear his stories from the day. The day was a day of learning how to perform crucial tasks. The first lesson focused on how to use a bus pass and how to ride the bus, which the clients rode for 51 stops through downtown Columbus. Upon entrance into the Statehouse, an officer welcomed us and gave us a summary of the history of the Statehouse and the floors we should make sure to see, said Nuur. The spacious main hall was beautiful, and the group spent at least half an hour there taking pictures.

The group migrated down a flight of stairs into the basement filled with signs and diagrams of Ohio’s history. The verbal translation of the signs into Arabic, Somali, and Nepali by our employment liaisons and by the students themselves ensured everyone had an in-depth and informed understanding of their new home’s history. A climb up to the third floor brought the courtroom where a guide explained the Ohio senate’s judicial processes.

With their brains full of knowledge about Ohio, the group left the Statehouse and strolled towards the Tim Hortons across the street where Mohamed taught the clients their second life lesson: “How to Order Coffee.” A walk to the Columbus Commons allowed the clients a moment of respite to enjoy their fresh coffee and lunches, to take some more pictures, and to call home about all the morning’s adventures.

As they boarded the COTA bus to return to CRIS, the clients expressed that they wished they could take field trips like this every day.

2014 fiscal year resettlement numbers

September 30 marked the end of the fiscal year. During the 2014 fiscal year, CRIS resettled 605 refugees between our two national agencies, Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries.  Check out where they came from:


Student Spotlight


Meet Yoslier and Lis! Born in Cuba, the couple lived in Russia for six years before coming to America. In Russia, they worked as teachers at a Spanish institute. They have been in America and at CRIS for a little over a month. Yoslier and Lis are currently students in our Advanced Employment class.

CRIS joins the #GivingTuesday movement


CRIS has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners—charities, families, businesses and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world. Taking place December 2, 2014 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”

For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (, Facebook page ( or follow #GivingTuesday ( and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.

Mark your calendars for December 2nd and consider giving back to your community!


BNCC Cultural Nite 2014 Promo Video!

Check out this awesome promo video for the Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus Cultural Nite 2014! The event will take place this Sunday, September 28 from 2:00pm-9:00pm at the Northland Performing Arts Center! Don’t miss out on this concert! Stop by CRIS to purchase your entry ticket for $10 or contact Jhuma at and 614-446-2012. All proceeds will benefit the BNCC!