Following the money trail from Washington, D.C. to Akron

By Trista Bowser and London Green Twenty-four thousand refugees have relocated in Ohio over the past decade, more than all but seven other states. Nonprofit organizations use federal and privately donated funds to resettle refugees. State Refugee Coordinator Jennifer Johnson oversees all the different aspects of refugee resettlement, from how many refugees Ohio receives every year to how much money Ohio receives for refugees. “All of our funding is federal funding,” explained Johnson. “There's no state funding involved.” Johnson explains that each state receives money from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. There, various resettlement agencies in Ohio enter into grant...

Why one volunteer loves teaching English as a Second Language

By Morgan McGrath Akron Crossings volunteer Jake George. Photo courtesy of Jake George. Jake George, one of the many volunteers at Akron Crossings, has graying hair, and a welcoming smile.  George, an Indian-American who has been living in the United States for “many” years, as he puts it, spends every Tuesday and Thursday teaching English as a second language, or ESL, to refugees from around the world. “I kept looking for opportunities to help out,” he said.  George worked in the rubber industry for 42 years, and following his retirement, he wanted to find ways to give back to the...

Overcoming barriers at Akron Crossings

By Morgan McGrath Akron Crossings is in North Hill, tucked among a long stretch of residential areas. Bena Paisley is the founder of this non-profit, community-centric organization, and her central goal is to help refugees adjust to the United States through the guidance of Christianity.  “I encourage them [refugees] to be patient with themselves, and that they really can do this, ‘cuz it’s overwhelming sometimes,” she said.  After speaking with local residents in North Hill, Paisley realized they all mentioned their need to overcome language barriers.  “I was a staff member at a church, and we started Crossings as a...