POMONA, Calif. — Anne Thorward and her team of volunteers are preparing for a busy week.
“We have 27 refugees, three military bases, and we are waiting their arrival any day,” said Thorward, CEO of Newcomers Access Center.
The nonprofit aims to empower refugees and immigrant families arriving in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties to become independent.
Newcomers works with the local resettlement agency in LA, and Thorward makes sure that refugees who arrive have a warm welcome as they try and adjust to a new and oftentimes scary world.
"Most of the people that come as refugees is because there’s trauma or violence in their own country," Thorward said. "They don’t really want to leave."
It goes beyond providing housing for a couple of months. Newcomers connects refugees with the resources become successful, contributing members of society.
“We introduce them to the medical system, we help them get settled, we help them get their work permits,” Thorward said.
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Amrat arrived in Southern California in 2017.
"When I first come to the United States, I meet Mrs. Anne, and I was nothing," he said. "I come in here, zero. They help me out with everything."
Amrat is now happily employed and married with a baby boy. He doesn’t live in a Newcomers apartment anymore but explained that Thorward is forever family.
"They help me all the time," he said. "I appreciate that, so I’m happy all the time. Mrs. Anne did for me everything. I can’t say how much she did for me. Everything."
Seeing the growth and success from refugees like Amrat is why Thorward keeps pushing forward. No matter what it takes, she doesn’t see obstacles. With her arms wide open, she helps all newcomers feel at home.
For more information on volunteering and donations, visit here.