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July 15, 2015 

Dear IRCO Friends, 


We kicked off the summer with a party! At IRCO Africa House's "Growing Strong Together" event on June 5th, we celebrated our diverse African communities with music, dance, food and fashion, and raised support for our unique culturally and linguistically-specific programs.

A special thank you to all of our sponsors for partnering with us to strengthen Portland's African refugee and immigrant communities: Brown & Brown NW, Chase, Northwest Health Foundation, OnPoint Community Credit Union, Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity & Inclusion, PCRI, Portland Children's Levy, Portland Parks & Recreation, Providence, SRM Advisors, and Teresa A. Statler.

Take a look at what else we're up to at IRCO this summer - and how you can get involved!

Standing Together with the Portland Timbers
We partnered with the Portland Timbers for Stand Together Week - which supports local nonprofit projects and connects Portlanders to volunteer opportunities - to work on the garden at Woodland Elementary, one of our SUN Community Schools. On June 12th, two Timbers players joined Woodland students, families and other volunteers to finish the school's first vegetable garden, building the beds and planting vegetable starts. Timber Joey even made an appearance! 

"I want to thank IRCO and our SUN program, in addition to the Timbers, for giving our immigrant and refugee students a hands-on learning experience that the whole family can enjoy for years to come!" said Woodland Principal Mike Clutter. Along with learning about healthy eating and sustainability, the new garden will be a great place for kids to practice English and make friends.

Increasing Our
Disability Awareness
Equity is at the core of IRCO's work and mission - and thanks to a grant from the  NWHF , we had the opportunity to participate in a regional dialogue on equity and the intersection of race, ethnicity, and disabilities and hold trainings centered on empowering and learning from people with disabilities. At our Resource Fair on June 29, we talked with agency partners about how to fully include and support people with disabilities. "I really appreciated t he opportunity to learn about the fantastic work that the participating agencies are providing for people with disabilities," said IRCO staff member Ellen Parker. 

Special thanks to the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, NAMI, OHSU Intercultural Psychiatric Program, Disability Rights Oregon, State of Oregon Commission on Disabilities, Multnomah County Aging, Disability, and Veteran Services, and the City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights' Commission on Disability.
Root for IRCO at the Portland World Cup!

IRCO's Youth Soccer Team is competing in the upcoming Portland World Cup! Organized by Portland Parks & Recreation, the tournament is a celebration of Portland's culturally diverse communities - this year's 28 teams come from 30 different countries and speak 30 languages.


Coached by Qayssar Lami with support from Rekha Koirala, both IRCO staff members, the IRCO Youth Soccer Team is a world in itself, with players hailing from  Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Congo, Russia, Ukraine, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Senegal. 

"It is so much fun to play together," says IRCO's team captain, "and soccer really teaches you sportsmanship."   IRCO's global team won second place at last year's World Cup, even while many players were fasting for Ramadan!  Come out and support them next week!

July 24-25, 9-5
Where: Delta Park 
10737 N Union Ct
Look for the 
orange IRCO jerseys!
IRCO Client Spotlight

Abubakar Sheikh 
Refugee and Immigrant Mentoring (RIM) Program 

"Families come to the United States from all over the world, not only to escape poverty or war, but because parents want their children to be successful in life.They risk their lives and leave everything behind to start a new life in America. My family of six came here from Somalia when I was 10 years old. That is when places like IRCO Africa House are the most important.

As students, we come to Africa House to get help with our homework and spend time with people who look like us and know our stories. We are given mentors who help us with everything we need, and also spend time with us. My mentor has been with me since the beginning of the program, which is going on six years now.

The programs at Africa House have helped my whole family get to where we are now. Because of the help I received in the RIM Program, I succeeded in my goal of being the first person in my family to finish high school and am now a student at Mt. Hood Community College studying engineering."

Africa House's June 27th Youth Against Violence Summit  
See the whole
photo album on Facebook !
Get to Know IRCO's Board of Directors!

Trinh Tran, Board member since May 2014, is the newly elected Vice President of IRCO's Board. Currently a contract administration manager for the Oregon State Lottery, Trinh has also worked as a private practice lawyer, specializing in corporate finance, and served as foreign legal advisor to a Tokyo law firm and as deputy city attorney for the City of Portland. He immigrated to the United States as an unaccompanied minor, arriving in Portland in 1984 and earning his law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School.

An agency started by refugees for refugees, IRCO continues to be run largely by members of the diverse communities we serve. Seven of our nine Board members are former immigrants, refugees or asylees - you can read about them here!


Upcoming Events

July 23,11am-1:30pm
White House Initiative API Community Roundtable: RSVP here

July 26
, 1-5pm
Americans With Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary Celebration

Aug. 7
, 9am-3pm
Bike Workshop for newly arrived refugees and immigrants

Sept. 5
, 9am-9pm
Council of Filipino Associations of Oregon and SW Washington

July 22, 6-7 pm 

Follow Us
Outstanding Volunteer: 
Gabriella Hoffman

 "I tutor three ESL students through IRCO's FACES program, but we do so much more than correct grammar and spelling. We tackle science projects and research papers on topics like genomic testing, conflict minerals, and global warming. I demystify the structure of the U.S. government and the Constitution. I teach time management, sow seeds for future carrier choices, and am a cultural ambassador to my students and their families, bridging the gap between our culture, customs, and language. Volunteering as a tutor has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."


Learn more about volunteering at
IRCO here!

10301 NE Glisan St.
Portland, OR 97220