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    A dedicated teacher

    DAY 51

    Getting to Know Ayan

    Even though our programs normally happen outside of the U.S., doing the doable – tackling big problems one step at a time – is a powerful way to affect real change at home, too. That’s why for the past week we’ve been reaching out to refugee communities right here in Minnesota, where ARC is headquartered.

    Green Card Voices is an extraordinary example of a group of people who – step by step – are giving voice to our refugee neighbors. Through the production of video interviews, Green Card Voices helps refugees tell their stories in their own words – how they came to Minnesota, the adjustments they’ve had to make, what life was like before coming here.

    Knowing the enormous value that Green Card Voices brings to our community, we set out to support them in continuing to tell those stories – by financing the production of three of their videos. We’ve shared the first two on Day 45 and Day 48. And for Day 51, we’re getting to know Ayan.

    Meet Ayan.

    For Ayan –a teacher in St. Cloud, Minnesota – school has always been a place of self-discovery. Born in Somalia, Ayan and her family were forced to flee their country during the Civil War. They eventually resettled in Georgia, and Ayan was enrolled in kindergarten. She loved to learn, but she felt out of place, too. “Growing up with the name Ayan…. first day of school – you know the teacher is at your name when there’s a hesitation. You think ‘oh that’s me.’”

    It wasn’t until Ayan realized she could use science to explain how to pronounce her name that she truly felt at home. When her teacher heard the correct pronunciation, she said, “like ion in science, like an ionic bond.” And Ayan said, “yes just like that.” Once she had a way to explain her name to people, she said, “I grew comfortable in who I am and where I’m from and everything that entails in my story.”

    Ayan flourished at school. When she finished her homework, she read the dictionary. She discovered the power of a great education, and she decided that she wanted to be part of giving others that opportunity, too. She went to St. Cloud State to pursue a degree in teaching, and has been there ever since. As a language arts teacher, Ayan knows the potential of a moving story to change your life. She shares that potential with her students.

    “Diversity is truly stories. Stories of individuals. The ability to mesh our stories together to make America is what I look forward to the most for my daughter.”

    Green Card Voices allows Ayan’s own story to be heard by communities in Minnesota, around the nation, and around the world. We’re proud to stand alongside them and do what we can to support those stories, to make sure they can continue doing the amazing work they do everyday.

    Listen to Ayan’s full story as told by Green Card Voices.

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

    Let's Connect!