Do you have your ticket?

IRCO's 40th Anniversary Gala:
May 21, 2016 | 6:00 pm
Guest Speaker Senator Jeff Merkley

The Nines | 525 SW Morrison
Tickets | $125

Join us to celebrate 40 years of strengthening our immigrant and refugee communities!


2015 Annual Report

Did you know that IRCO served nearly 30,000 immigrants, refugees and other people in 2015? Because of our programs: 

6,893 meals were served to refugee and immigrant elders

5,651 low-income individuals and families received anti-poverty assistance

2,226 refugees and asylees received job coaching and placement services

850 youth exited or avoided gang involvement

640 leaders were empowered to advocate for their communities


IRCO Client Highlight:
Sylvester Manue

“IRCO has been a life-changer for me,” says Sylvester, whose family moved to Portland as refugees from Liberia in 2004. He first came to IRCO for job placement assistance from our Refugee Employment Services, but when he developed an allergy that forced him to leave his job at Franz Bakery after 7 years, we connected Sylvester to Western Pacific Truck School to learn to drive long-haul trucks.

IRCO provided all the resources he needed—gas cards, work boots, test fees and a training scholarship—and Sylvester was hired by Performance Food Service. “Sylvester is a very capable, safe and professional driver,” his operation manager says. “He is a welcomed addition to our company."

Soon after starting his new job, Sylvester’s fifth child was born. “Life is better now. I am depending on myself,” he says. “My dream now is to make my family financially stable and self-sufficient and allow my kids to go to college.”

IRCO Employee of the Year:
Gudeta Wak-Woya

Gudeta began his journey with IRCO when he received services as a newly arrived refugee from Ethiopia in 1994. In 2002, he started to volunteer in IRCO's Youth programs. Soon after, he became a part-time and then full-time staff member. 

For much of his career here, Gudeta has worked as an Academic Achievement Specialist, helping African youth with short-term academic case management and advocacy, as well as linkages to other community resources to support their success in school. More recently, he has taken on leadership roles in other programs serving African youth.

Gudeta is known for his dedicated, tireless advocacy to help families remove barriers to success. Whether he is leading training for parents, tutoring kids, or organizing meetings between kids, parents, teachers or counselors, Gudeta works with nonstop determination. “He never stops,” one of his colleagues says, “not on weekends, not ever.”

Programs Expand to the 
Slavic Community

“The Slavic community has huge needs in access to housing, rental and energy assistance, early childhood programs and youth academic achievement,” says Bisera Vucak, an IRCO workforce specialist who works with newly arrived Russian and Ukrainian speaking clients.

With an increase in our Multnomah County SUN Services funding, we’re excited to expand IRCO’s culturally specific services to Portland’s Slavic community. Two of our SUN Community Schools (Gilbert Park Elementary and Walt Morey Middle) will provide culturally specific services, our Early Childhood programs will have increased capacity to enroll Slavic families with children ages 0 to 5, and our Youth programs will be enhanced with culturally and linguistically specific Youth Advocates targeting Slavic middle school and high school students. 


Photo: Community leaders in our Slavic Leadership Program on retreat in Lincoln City.
New Multicultural Library
Reflects our Students

Thousands of new books for children and youth are published each year, but only 14% are written by and about people of color. IRCO’s multicultural youth library consists entirely of these books. Now students in our Youth Academic programs from African, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino and Slavic backgrounds can read stories they connect to by authors who share their cultures and languages.

Our new multicultural library fosters literacy and good reading habits in refugee and immigrant youth, but it also helps students discover more about their own culture. Min, a 4th grader at Vestal School, played Lang Lieu in a performance of a traditional Vietnamese folk tale for our Tet celebrations, after his class heard the folk tale from Dan "Dawn" Le, an IRCO Youth Advocate who uses the library as a culturally responsive resource.

"I didn't know about the story until Dawn taught me,” Min said. “Then I asked my mom and she knew all about it!"

Upcoming Events!
Faces of IRCO: 
Democratic Republic of Congo
June 15, 2016 | 6:00 pm
IRCO's Sokhom Tauch Community Center
10301 NE Glisan St. Portland 97214
Come explore the rich culture of Portland's Congolese community!

Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization