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anya valsamakis

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1 reviews


Rating: 5 stars  

Hi, I'm Anya Valsamakis, CIO board member for five plus years. Why do I volunteer? My parents were very newly emmigrated from Russia to the US, when I was born. Though you would never know it if you met me (probably), finding my between-cultures identity was painful. I became a social worker and for years worked with refugee and immigrant families, developing programs and helping find jobs. Though social services are very important in the early resettlement years, what immigrants need for the long term is civic education, a voice here, and to have their very great contibutions seen and counted. CIO is a vibrant, flexible organization, driven by values of equity and social justice. We believe that a, " diverse, grassroots, multiracial, multicul;tural movement of immigrants and refugees"can help make Portland a better place to live and serve as a model of unity for the rest of the country. I love being part of CIO, find my community service gives back over and over. One example why I find it meaningful: at our last board meeting about 40 Somali youth came to CIO for their own organizing meeting, to launch their own youth centered non-profit. Seeing their faces and hearing their excited voices, switching between Somali and English, I felt tremendous pride that CIO empowers people to engage in this great country that belongs to all of us.

Role:  Board Member & I worked for over 15 years helping immigrants resettle, find work access, education. .