In March of 2013 the Bhutanese Community Association of Akron (BCAA) applied for a grant from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) agency, Office of Refugee Resetlement (ORR). It was a major undertaking for BCAA, but when it learned that the U. S. government is interested in helping newcomer refugees and their communities ensure ongoing support and services to refugees within five yars after their initial resettlement, it was eager to apply.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement is interested in strengthening ethnic community-based organizations like BCAA to build bridges between its community members and the larger mainstream. ORR wants organizations like BCAA to be a voice for self-representation, information exchange between newcomer communities and the larger community, civic participation, and service provision. It hopes that associations like BCAA can learn to become effective advocates for improved services and to foster the growth of community leaders. ORR wants to help in spite of the fact that organizations like BCAA are new and lack resources and well-developed organizational structures.
Dr. Terry Kuhn, Statutory Agent for BCAA, was the primary grant writer and the following individuals provided valuable input into the development of the grant proposal:
– Dr. Madhav Batta (assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Kent State University);
– Ms. Lori Burchard (director of sponsored programs at Kent State University);
– Mr. Michael Byun (Executive Director, Asian Services In Action, Inc.);
– Dr. Cheryl Casper (former Associate Provost for Budget and Finance at Kent State University);
– Mr. Bhim Dhungana (past Secretary, Bhutanese Community Association of Akron);
– Mr. Bhakta Ghimire (pioneer Bhutanese refugee journalist, former editor of Sandesh Saptahik);
– Ms. Lisa Kuhn (Research Associate III, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute);
– Ms. Lisa Lin (English teacher, North High School, Akron Public Schools);
– Ms. Mary Newton (Grant Writing Officer, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute);
– Dr. Gary Padak (retired dean of undergraduate studies and Director of Upward Bound Programs at Kent State University);
– Dr. Dale Richards (retired human resources officer and writing instructor, Kent State University);
– Mr. Dil Rimal (refugee and trained lawyer);
– Mr. Amber Subba (past President, Bhutanese Community Association of Akron);
– Mr. Bishnu Subba (BCAA President);
– Dr. Naresh Subba (first Bhutanese refugee to earn a PhD in the U. S. and elder statesman of the Akron Bhutanese community); and
– Dr. Paul Wang (retired professor of computer science, Kent State University).
In addition to the individuals identified above, the grant proposal profited from the input of Elaine Woloshyn, Executive Director, and Diane Johnson, Assistant Executive Director, of the International Institute of Akron, who helped to conceptualize the grant and worked with BCAA to provide space for the English and Computer/Techology high school classes and for office space for the Akron Bhutanese Support Center that will be created if the grant is funded.
The grant is intended to fulfill the following three objectives:
(1) raise awareness, understanding, and participation of Bhutanese refugees about the available social and educational support services and agencies in Akron;
(2) increase English writing skills and computer competence of refugee high school students;
(3) promote social interaction and English language development among refugees and between refugees and US citizens.
First grant meeting
First Draft Meeting 1-17-13
These three objectives will be achieved through five key activities:
First grant meeting
First Draft Meeting 1-17-13
(1) establishing a physical center to enhance efforts to work with refugees through one location to provide information, educational training, and social interaction opportunities that are responsive to the linguistic and cultural needs of Bhutanese refugees;
(2) offering home-based-interactive-instruction about issues and services important to refugee resettlement in the United States;
(3) conducting after-school classes in English writing for refugee high school students, in which they will hone their writing skills as they write about topics of importance to resettlement;
BCAA reviews second draft
BCAA reviews second draft 2-16-13 Terry Kuhn writing grant
Preparing the draft BCAA reviews second draft
BCAA reviews second draft 2-16-13
(4) conducting after-school classes in computer technology for refugee high school students, in which they will use these skills to produce videos written in the after-school English classes;
Terry Kuhn writing grant
Third Draft 3-17-13
(5) sponsoring cultural/social events for the community with an interactive English Café component, in which participants can congregate in small groups and practice their English skills with a native speaker, as well as have cultural food, entertainment, and social interaction opportunities.
Letters of support were received from
Mayor of Akron
Akron City Council
Asian Services In Action
International Institute of Akron
Mauri and Michael O’Brodo
Dr. Hai Pham
Dr. Elina Shakya
The narrative section of the proposal was 23 pages, the appendices were 32 pages, and the other required forms accounted for 14 pages, making a total of 69 pages in the proposal.
If funded, this grant will help Bhutanese refugees adapt to ways life in the United States so that they may become successful and productive citizens.
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