Fleeing the horrors of the war in Daraa, Syria, Samer and Haifa Alasad made the choice to leave their home to keep their children Abdullah, Faid, and Hanan safe. After four years in a Jordanian refugee camp, the Alasads gathered what little belongings they had and moved to Michigan. The move was much more difficult than what the Alasads imagined, though. They were in financial crisis and constantly worried about their survival.

Samer brought his mechanical skills with him, and ACCESS helped him find a job at a transportation company repairing cars. Haifa and Samer were taught English at night and on weekends. Doug Ross, a former state representative, along with several of his friends, formed “Team Alasad” and partnered with the Building Blocks for New Americans (BBNA), to help the family settle into American life. Through BBNA, the family rented a house in a good school district and received a few months of rent, furniture, and household needs, and were provided support in all their emergency needs. Haifa earned her driver’s license, and the BBNA fund provided her with a car.

Today, Haifa is working part-time at a bakery to help the family become economically self-sufficient. As for Samer? He is planning to study to be a certified mechanic once he has mastered his English.

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