August 31, 2020
August 2020 Issue
Tribute to Conny Nxumalo
Conny in Cais Cais, Portugal. From Bob Miles who served with her on the governing board, “Conny was a wonderful, talented person with a big heart..  Im sorry ISS and her circle of friends have lost her!”
Dear Friends of ISS-USA:
COVID-19 has impacted our work in many different ways. From the challenges of dealing with 2 week quarantine requirements for U.S. citizens repatriating from foreign countries to the U.S., to conducting assessments remotely, to finding creative ways to get food to some of our most remote families in the hills of Guatemala and Honduras, our work is forever evolving. However COVID-19 has also impacted us in a very personal way. We have recently lost a dear colleague from ISS South Africa: Deputy Director-General for Welfare Services, Ms. Conny Nxumalo. Conny was all smiles and ”can do” spirit. She served as a member of International Social Service’s governing board for many years. She truly brought the spirit of Ubuntu to our organization, with her collaborative and kind spirit, she reminded us all of our common humanity, and shared passion for working to reunite children and families across the globe. ISS-USA has also partnered with ISS South Africa on many cases over the years, and we are very saddened for our colleagues’ loss of such a wonderful leader. Ms. Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of the National Department of Social Development, Government of South Africa stated, “Conny…South Africa’s Chief Social Worker…lived the life of service to the best of her abilities until her last breath. She was always ready to provide advice on the work of the Department, and was very knowledgeable on any issue related to welfare matters in particular. She made particularly valuable contribution in championing innovative programmes to protect children and was one of the architects of the Department’s national action plan to combat violence against women and children as well as the anti-substance abuse interventions. With the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa, Ms. Nxumalo was in the forefront of our national response, representing the Department and the sector as a whole…"
You will be missed Conny- rest in peace. We will continue our fight to protect our most vulnerable children and families, especially those made even more vulnerable during these incredibly challenging times. 
With deep respect and gratitude,
Julie Rosicky, Executive Director

Pandemic Pandemonium
The emergence of the novel Coronavirus brought the world to a halt, leaving numerous individuals scrambling to get their affairs in order amidst an uncertain future. Because of the imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions, over 80,000 citizens struggled but returned to the U.S. Many more were unable to return.

ISS-USA immediately recognized the mounting obstacles faced by U.S. citizens outside the country, and in collaboration with Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Human Service Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) launched an Evacuation Hotline. This 24/7 hotline was implemented to provide U.S. citizens globally with information, options or services  available to them upon arrival back to the U.S. From early March to July, when the hotline concluded, 73 U.S. citizens were provided information about housing, travel options, ongoing travel options once reaching the U.S., and how to seek unemployment and other benefits.
As the pandemic persists, ISS assistance has expanded thanks to funding from the Jessie Ball duPont fund. ISS offers temporary support through the U.S. Citizens Abroad program, which provides U.S. citizens outside the country with virtual assistance in accessing services such as housing, food, medicine, healthcare and mental health services where needed.  If you are a U.S. citizen abroad, and are in need of some support or services, please email us at

New Beginnings
ISS is thrilled to announce the arrival of Marah Nanahemaa Penn! Repatriation Case Manager, Patricia Penn, and her family welcomed their precious daughter into the world on August 5, 2020, on her anticipated due date. Marah is the third ISS-USA baby born this year, and we are grateful that Patricia and Marah are healthy and thriving. The ISS team wishes the Penn family continued good health and happiness.

Congratulations to the proud Penn family!
Worlds Apart: A Love Story
Ari is a former Intercountry Case Manager at ISS-USA who currently works as a primary therapist. She fondly recalls how her experiences listening and empathizing with people’s different situations while working on cases at ISS-USA has helped her transition into her current position.
Her fiancé Rusi is from Fiji and was on his way to the United States to be with her when the pandemic started. “I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to enter into the U.S. even though I had my proper documents, I was terrified...” Rusi said.
Flights were cancelled and the borders were closed because of COVID. Rusi, who had an approved K1 fiancé visa expiring on August 18th, felt the pressure to get to the U.S. well before hand. However,  it was becoming increasingly difficult, then seemingly impossible to find a way to fly to the U.S. from Fiji; there weren't any flights in or out.  “I felt so hopeless and powerless,” Ari said, describing the extremely limited flight options.
Ari posted on Instagram for prayers for their situation, which was noticed by a current ISS-USA employee, Alanna Hays, Intake and Contracts Manager. Alanna  reached out to Ari to help her and Rusi, and then presented the situation to other ISS employees for ideas. Yalem Mulat, Repatriation Program Manager, was particularly experienced with flight patterns, as she manages the U.S. Repatriation Program, that provides assistance to eligible U.S. Citizens that need to return to the U.S. from overseas. Yalem connected Ari to an Air New Zealand flight which departs Fiji and goes to Auckland, New Zealand. From Auckland there is a direct flight to Los Angeles. The only hiccup was that Rusi would need to obtain a transit visa from the government of New Zealand in order to enter New Zealand from Fiji. Fortunately, Rusi was able to obtain an expedited transit visa online prior to his departure from Fiji. After much worry, and many hours in the air,  Rusi arrived in the United States just two days before the entry visa was set to expire.  After having been apart for over a year, Rusi and Ari are happily reunited.

Equipped to Excel
ISS-USA wishes Ema Makas all the best in her future endeavors as she completes her time at ISS and pursues her J.D. at Vermont Law School.
“My positions as Fund Development and Communications intern and Evacuation Case Manager have complimented the completion of my master's degree in Global Affairs and Human Security. I have developed an abundance of constructive experience in the non-profit sector, and for that I am both proud and grateful. I have had the opportunity of being part of a meaningful mission and a wonderful team.”
Ema plans to focus her career on international law, including criminal and human rights law.
If you or a someone you know is interested in learning more about interning with ISS-USA, check out our internships on our website.
Welcoming Our New Interns
Grace Glimada
Grace is currently a senior working to complete her last semester at Towson University. She is majoring in Mass Communication with tracks in Strategic Public Relations and Advertising. In her free time, Grace enjoys singing, dancing and playing her guitar.
James (Jimmy) Horstkamp
Jimmy is currently a Negotiation and Conflict Management Masters student at the University of Baltimore and has a B.S in Criminal Justice from the University of Baltimore. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music and attending various comedy and improvisational shows.   
Claire Xu
Claire is currently a senior at Elon University finishing up her degree in Human Service Studies. In her free time she enjoys painting, stand-up paddle boarding, and watching true crime documentaries.
Repatriation in a Covid World 
Ever since COVID started spreading around the world, traveling has become an increasingly difficult thing to do; many individuals and families have been stranded in other countries with no resources and no flights to help them return. ISS-USA, funded by HHS OHSEPR, facilitates the provision of  repatriation assistance to eligible U.S. citizens who are destitute and/or mentally ill, who need to return to the U.S. from overseas.  
Although COVID has created first a dearth, and now a surge in caseload, the ISS-USA Repatriation Program Team is acquainted with working in challenging circumstances. ISS-USA repatriation case mangers work closely with the Department of State, who screens all participants and refers the cases. Upon arrival in the U.S., states and local case workers receive the returning Americans and coordinate their care for up to 90 days. All services are offered in the form of a loan.  Once it is determined by the Department of State (DOS) that someone is eligible for services, DOS works to find a flight back to a port of entry into the U.S. With lockdowns and border closures, there was a period of time when it was impossible to find flights back to the U.S.  Once limited travel began opening up, many more people are repatriating. The repatriation case managers try to arrange a local case manager to meet and greet the returning citizens and provide services in the state of arrival. This has been particularly challenging because many states are providing remote services in lieu of face to face services, so meeting a person at the airport is not an option very often. Finally, upon return, many states have imposed two week quarantines for people returning from overseas, and so case managers must find an affordable place where the person can stay for two weeks, arrange for a way to access food, before onward travel or other sorts of housing or services can be arranged. With limited flights, and other types of restrictions, making arrangements for returning citizens has never been more challenging. And yet, even with these challenges, many Americans continue to return and gain access to needed services thanks to a very dedicated ISS-USA team of case managers and strong collaboration between HHS, the states, DOS and ISS-USA. 

Welcoming Our Newest Board Member: Jocelyn Moore
Jocelyn Moore brings a wealth of diverse experience to our Board of Directors and we are very excited to welcome her. Jocelyn is currently a Venture Partner at Ozone X Ventures. Previously, Jocelyn was the NFL’s Global Chief Communications Officer.  As the NFL’s Global Chief Communications Officer, Jocelyn was a member of the executive leadership team and responsible for managing corporate affairs at the 100-year-old professional sports league. She was also a key architect of the league’s social justice efforts. Prior to joining the NFL, Jocelyn served as a Managing Director at The Glover Park Group, a leading national communications consulting firm. She also spent 15 years in the United States Senate, most recently as the Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Finance Committee.  Jocelyn volunteers her time as a member on multiple Boards of Directors, including for the West Virginia University Health System, University of Florida Foundation, and for the DC Rape Crisis Center.    
Family Found: An ISS Success Story
William Jr.* was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch mother and an American father. His father was a U.S. soldier who was stationed in Europe in the 1960s. William Jr.’s father did not want to leave his child behind, but he was forced to leave Europe to return to the United States. William Jr. grew up with his mother in the Netherlands. He became curious about whether he had more family members and contacted ISS Netherlands.
ISS Netherlands met with William Jr., and then referred his case to ISS-USA.  ISS-USA, after taking a great deal of time to figure out the family structure,  sent out tracing letters in the U.S. in an attempt to locate a person named, Steve, who was allegedly William Jr.’s half-brother.
In response to the tracing letters, ISS-USA received an unexpected e-mail sent by a person called James, who was claiming to be Steve’s father. After confirming his identity, the case manager discovered that in fact, James was indeed the half-brother that William Jr. was seeking, not Steve, as we had mistakenly understood.   
Both men, who are somewhat disconnected from their families, were thrilled to find one another. ISS-USA facilitated the virtual introduction of William Jr. to his half-brother James, in collaboration with ISS Netherlands. The two have been in email and phone contact with each other ever since. We are hopeful that someday when travel restrictions are lifted, the brothers might have a chance to meet face to face.
*Names and countries have been changed to protect the anonymity of those involved.
Attention social workers in NH, ME, VT, and Upstate NY: we want to hear from you!
ISS-USA is looking for social workers to complete occasional assessments with families in your state. We will provide you with guidance throughout the work and you will help us directly serve families who are seeking to care for their relative children in another state or country. Check out the description here. Please contact Elaine Weisman at for more information.
The International Social Service Network is Recruiting!
International Social Service is recruiting new partners! Visit the ISS website for more information or email to express interest. Join our 90+ year old network of cross border experts!