Leaving the comfort of their own country, the entire family made their way to America in search of a better life. The first two years of their journey was spent in Syria. She felt very alone and isolated. Because of the lifestyle they had in Iraq, it was very depressing for them all. Family played a huge part in their life and now they had no one but each other. March 12, 2012, the entire family made their way to America. The family had to deal not only with the culture shock of coming to America, but the language barrier. Knowing she had to make a life for her family, she immediately enrolled herself in community college and learned English. CMSS and close relatives provided her with all the necessary tools to succeed in school which in turn encouraged her to continue her studies. While continuing her studies, her grades sky rocketed and she managed to ascend to the top of her class. Unfortunately, after being enrolled for two years, she had to take a leave due to medical problems. The children became very accustomed to the American way and truly immersed themselves in the culture. She really encourages her children to continue with their studies and always remember to succeed. She now really believes that this is where the family is meant to be. Coming to America marked a new life for the entire family. She states, “Those who are satisfied with where they live and what is given to them will always be satisfied.” Living here has provided the client and her family with safety and a peace of mind. Part of the clients reasoning as to why she now lives in a safe area is done through the will of God. “God never forsakes anyone!” She is passionate when she speaks about the Lord and feels nothing could have been done without him. When asked if she is happy her response is, “Of course I am happy! As long as you follow the way of the Lord, that is what will provide you with happiness.” She is now working towards really strengthening her English. Ultimately, she wants to be able to work with her husband and help to reduce the amount of stress caused by financial burdens. Her goals for the future consist of: graduating college, strengthen her English, and to someday become an independent citizen that does not need to live on federal/state aid. She and her husband are now both scheduled to take their citizenship test on the same day. They are both very determined to pass and are studying very hard, quizzing each other daily. She has faith that with the help of God and lots of dedication she will soon become an American citizen, she could not feel more blessed.

– Age 47, Female

A proud mother of seven was sick of living in fear in Iraq and desired to immigrate to the United States. She and her family started their journey of relocation in 2007. Before the family could make it to the United States they had to stay in Turkey for approximately eight months. In order to prevent deportation the family avoided work. The trip was long and hard and coming to the states wasn’t any easier. The client breaks down in tears whenever speaking. Once in the United States the family could not find immediate work and the language barrier made each situation that much more difficult. The family was alone with no friends and relatives living in the state at the time. They shared a small apartment together, living off the little they had. Shortly after arriving, the client’s 28-year old daughter suffered a massive stroke and was paralyzed on the right side of her body. Not only did she need to attend to her duties as a mother she also had to tend to her now disabled daughter. In 2010, another daughter of the client suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away. The daughter was the pride and joy of their family. At 28 years of age, the life of a bright young woman had been lost and the client questions still questions, “Why me?” This was especially traumatic because this daughter had been living in Germany. Because the client was not a citizen at the time, she was unable to travel to Germany to attend the services. Not shortly after, the client lost her husband to a very sudden heart attack. He had never had any prior issues so it came as major shock to the family. She really felt like the family could not catch a break. “We came to America for a new life but, this was unlike anything we had ever experienced. I have never been at a lower point in my entire life.” Through all her troubles, she truly is thankful for CMSS. She goes on to say how each and every single staff member has helped her overcome her depression and helped her become accustomed to American li ving. She goes as far to say, “Without the staff members at CMSS, I would not have been able to live. I could have even died from my depression.” Even though she is still broken inside, she continues to push through for her daughters and son. The client really wants to see her remaining family members succeed in life. Pushing the children through school is her main concern. She has officially passed her citizenship test and is now awaiting the day that she finally receives her American passport so she can visit her daughter’s grave in Germany. She also has yet to meet the twin boys of her son. Another one of her sons married an amazing girl this past December and she prays to God each day that they bring her some grandchildren in the near future. Ultimately, the clients time in America has been a difficult one to say the least, but she has faith that after being at the lowest possible place in her life, she has no other direction to go but up.

– Age 60, Female

The client enters the office with a bright smile on his face, very calm and full of life. He is here at CMSS to apply for Cal-Fresh. The paperwork has already been submitted and now the interview is being done via video chat. He answers all the questions calmly and confidently. After his interview we asked the client about his story and how his life has been since he came to America. He and his family began the transition to America by first living in Lebanon for four years. He made the most of the situation and studied his English right away. This proved to be very beneficial when he moved because he was able to hold a job and get settled for his family with no problem. He has been working at a towing company for two years now and wishes to open his own business in the near future. When asked if he encountered any struggles he responds, “I felt the transition to America was a very smooth one. Obtaining classes at the community college was probably the most difficult situation.” Unfortunately, he decided to drop out due to his inability to obtain classes but hopes to go back and earn his degree. As mentioned before the client learned the English language very quickly and encourages all of his friends and family that move to the states to do the same. He might not be in the most ideal situation, currently living with six others in a small apartment, but none the less he feels absolutely blessed and thankful for his new life in America. He is hopeful of his future and is living very positively. The client states, “Positivity is the only way to live. We must hope for the best and take each day as it comes.” Through the help of CMSS, the client has now obtained food stamps and has definitely felt the burden lessen.

– Age 40, Male