Where My Success Began

"I was accepted at the LDS Humanitarian Center as an associate.”

I was born in Afghanistan, but I grew up in Iran. I was approved to come to the United States as a refugee. Accepting this opportunity meant that I had to leave my family in Iran. I didn’t know how I was going to start a new life in the U.S. alone and without being fluent in English. I knew it would be hard to find a good job. My friend told me about a program at the LDS Humanitarian Center that helps refugees with English as a second language (ESL) classes while teaching them new work skills. With a bishop’s authorization, I was accepted at the Humanitarian Center as an associate.

I told my job coach and development counselor that my major concern was learning English. I wanted to improve my English before the end of the year. I was confident that if I worked hard, I would be able to learn English and then find a good job to support myself. My job coach helped me realize that even though I deeply missed my family, I had to focus on adjusting to my new life in the United States. When I started the ESL classes, I promised myself that I was going to attend regularly and do whatever the teachers wanted me to do.

Taking public transportation from my home to the LDS Humanitarian Center took a long time. What I needed was a cheap, reliable car to get me there on time. This meant I needed to first study for a driver’s license. I also needed a more affordable apartment. As I thought about how I was going to do everything, a friend offered to loan me his used car. He told me that I could pay him slowly until it was paid off. I was overwhelmed with the kindness of this offer. With transportation, things began to slowly change.

I was impressed by the training I received at the LDS Humanitarian Center. The ESL teachers, job coaches, development counselors, and the entire staff were there to support me during my struggles. As I talked with my job coach each day about various concerns, he would counsel me to take things one step at a time and follow my development plan. Every three months I would meet with him, my development counselor, and my case worker to check my progress. At these meetings, I would ask what I could do to complete the training I needed before the end of the program. My job coach would give me time whenever I came to him for help. He helped me fill out applications when I started searching for a job, he contacted employers, and he reminded me of upcoming job interviews.

Before the end of the program, I found a job that I liked at the airport. Having this job has enabled me to move to a new place, and I will soon pay off the car that my friend offered me. My English has improved because of the interaction I have on a daily basis. I am very happy that I can even support my sick mother back in Iran.

I continue to use the skills I learned at the LDS Humanitarian Center. I am grateful for the months I spent there because that is where all of my success started.

“My job coach would give me time whenever I came to him for help.”

For more amazing stories like Hamidah’s, visit the DI’s Facebook page by clicking here.