Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The IRC in San Diego blog is no longer active.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Dentists on Tour

The IRC Career Development Program recently coordinated a tour for 5 Iraqi refugees who are dentists.

The group visited Dentist Antonio Orozco at North County Health Services, Dental Department to hear about career options as a dentist in the U.S. on Saturday, April 9th. They were given a tour of the new dental clinic and had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Orozco about the job prospects for foreign educated dentists. There are plenty of options for foreign educated dentists, but first they must pass the National Board exam with top scores and identify exactly what their career goal is (such as do they want to continue being dentists or pursue other similar career paths such dental hygienists).

Dr. Orozco also pointed out that he has met many foreign educated dentists from South America who came to the U.S. and started over, working temporarily as dental assistants and eventually moving up as they were given more tasks. He suggested they get an x-ray certificate so they can work as Dental Assistant Extended with more responsibilities.

He encouraged them by explaining that the road to becoming re-licensed is difficult, but if they take one step at a time and just focus on completing that step, eventually they will get there.

The group was delighted to have met Dr. Orozco, stating that the most important outcome of the meeting was that he has given them motivation to move forward, to consider dental assistants as the first step, and affirmed their hopes of one day becoming well-respected dentists again.

If you would like to learn more about the Career Development program, please contact

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

IRC Higher Education Fair

The IRC in San Diego's Career Development Program hosted its first ever Higher Education Fair from Wednesday, Feb. 23rd to Friday Feb. 25th.

The fair brought together representatives from different educational institutions around San Diego who provided information on atteneding college, getting vocational training, as well as applying to masters programs. The representatives gave valuable information on the application process and financial aid. The clients had many questions, particularly about financial aid and evaluation of foreign transcripts.

Thank you to San Diego City College, SDSU Extension, UCSD Extension, USD, National University, DeVry, San Diego Continuing Education and Grossmont Health Occupations for making the event a success!

For more information, please contact Thuba Nguyen at

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Community Garden Work Day

The IRC Community Garden Work Day on Saturday, February 12 brought fifteen energetic volunteers who assisted with composting, weeding, sheet mulching, turning manure into soil, cleaning out the shed, and other fun activities that gardeners like to do.

The IRC Community Garden is a healing garden that grows medicinal herbs - it is companion garden to the New Roots Community Farm. Both are located in City Heights. The IRC greatly appreciates the volunteer support!

One Saturday a month, the IRC hosts a volunteer work days at the New Roots Community Farm and/or the IRC Community Garden.
Click here to learn about upcoming work days.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mayor visits New Roots Farm

Press Conference held at the IRC New Roots Community Farm, City Heights
 IRC’s Food Security and Community Health Department has been advocating for changes to the city’s zoning regulations to make it easier for community members to start community gardens on vacant lots.  This week, Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilmember Todd Gloria announced proposed changes to the city’s land use policy while visiting the IRC New Roots Community Farm in City Heights.

The proposed amendments would allow groups wanting to establish a community garden to merely negotiate with the property owner, simplifying a process that has included obtaining permits and paying numerous fees.

Gloria stated that New Roots “has been a catalyst for strengthening the community and for building bridges between different cultures…Not to mention, of course, the obvious benefit of access [to] quality, fresh, affordable foods.”

The IRC in San Diego supports these proposed changes and looks forward to seeing more community gardens in the future.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Help at the Community Garden - Saturday Feb 12

The IRC Community Garden is in need of 10 volunteers to help with common area maintenance on Saturday, February 12 from 9am to noon.

The Community Garden is a healing garden that grows medicinal herbs. It is located at the corner of Wightman and 43rd in City Heights.

Volunteers must be able to perform physical labor. If you would like to volunteer, please rsvp through Kristin Kvernland at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Job Placement of the Month

Govand Hussein is an Iraqi refugee resettled by the IRC; he arrived in the country in September 2010. He was extremely motivated to find a job where he could use his computer knowledge and experience. He worked closely with his Job Developer, Genevieve, to find employment. In December, he obtained a full time job with Crown Computers as a network engineer.

Congratulations Govand and thank you Crown Computers!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January Career Society Meeting

On Thursday, January 20th the IRC’s Career Society members met and discovered ways to perfect their interview technique. Prior to the actual presentation, IRC staff treated members to a short but humorous skit on the do’s and don’ts of an interview. Members were able to pick out common errors committed during an interview. The presentation then covered pre-interview preparation, interview questions, body language and types of interviews.

After the presentation, members prepared answers to common interview questions and partnered up with each other to practice their interview. They selected one or two questions from their practice and presented to the audience. Finally, they critiqued each other and said whether they would hire their partner. All members said they would happily hire their partner.

Rayman Dawood, one of the members, used what he learned from the class for his actual interview with Costco today. He said, “The interview went very well with Costco. My answers were practical and supported by examples from my previous job… and I was talking with high confidence and sense of humor.”

Thank you to those who came to our meeting. Please tune in to find out when our meeting in February will be.

If you would like to learn more about the Career Society or the Career Development program, please contact

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cycling with the IRC

Read a blog entry by Aaron Garland and his experience teaching IRC clients to ride their donated bikes in traffic:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Celebrate Tet at the Farmers' Market

Celebrate Tet (Vietnamese New Year)
Saturday, February 5, 2011
9am to 1pm
City Heights Farmers' Market
Corner of Fairmount and Wightman in City Heights (one block south of University)

Lion Dance
Children's activities
And of course fresh produce!

IRC's Joseph Jok Votes in the Sudanese Referendum

IRC Case Manger Joseph Jok traveled to Phoenix, AZ to vote in the referendum to decided if Southern Sudan would split from Sudan to form a new country.

Click here to read the LA Times Story

Monday, January 03, 2011

IRC Farmers Sell at Local Markets

Photos: Khadiga at the Southeastern Farmers' Market

The IRC is proud to announce that farmers at the New Roots Community Farm are now certified to sell their produce at Farmers' Markets!

Buy fresh organic produce grown by IRC famers at these two markets:
City Heights Farmers' Market
Saturdays, 9am to 1pm
4326 Wightman St (Between Fairmount and 43rd just south of University Ave)

Southeastern San Diego Farmers' Market (new!)
Fridays, 3 to 6pm
606 Euclid (near Market)
Click here to read an article about the Southeastern San Diego Farmers' Market

At both markets, the IRC operates the Fresh Fund - an incentive program for low-income people to access fresh produce at local markets.

The New Roots Community Farm broke ground in June 2008 and provides growing space for 80 families. Each family has access to 600 square feet of land and are able to grow food to eat and/or sell. The farm is located near the IRC office - on 54th just south of University Avenue.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Career Society Meeting of the Month: Resume Building

The IRC in San Diego’s Employment Department recently started the Career Society, a job club, to provide a forum for refugee job seekers and employed professionals to network and build job skills that are useful while looking for employment or promotion.

At the Career Society’s second meeting on Thursday, December 9, members gained an in-depth knowledge of how to build strong resumes tailored to specific positions they are interested in. They engaged in an activity that gave them the opportunity to write a resume using information of fictitious characters with backgrounds similar to them. Members learned the importance of a perfect resume that is free of grammar errors and how to incorporate action words that would get them selected for an interview.

The next meeting will be focus on salary negotiation. If you have experience in salary negotiations or would like to learn about the program, please contact

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Holiday Bazaar at the Farmers' Market - Saturday 12/18

Shop for the holidays at the City Heights Farmers' Market! While you are there, buy some fresh produce grown at the IRC New Roots Community Farm.

December 18
9am to 1pm
On Wightman between 43rd and Fairmount Ave (just south of University Ave)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Job Placement of the Month: November

Culinary Concepts is a local catering company that provides catering for events throughout the San Diego area. The company catered a large event at UCSD in November and needed extra staff to help with kitchen preparation. They got in touch with IRC San Diego’s Employment Department who recommended twenty extremely dedicated job seekers. Culinary Concepts hired the refugees pictured for temporary positions to help with the events.

Congratulations to all of the clients who were hired and thank you Culinary Concepts! We look forward to working with you in the future!

To inquire about hiring an IRC client, please contact

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hilton Del Mar Supports the IRC

Hilton Del Mar selected the IRC in San Diego as their charity of the quarter. They started by becoming a sponsor for the IRC Share in the HOPE event on September 30.

More recently, they hosted an employee appreciation event on 11/19/2010 and raffled off prizes with 20 percent of the proceeds going to the IRC. IRC staff from the Center for Financial Opportunity were invited and they enjoyeod a wonderful luncheon.

Hilton Del Mar has hired 5 IRC clients to work at the hotel and we hope they will hire more in the future. The IRC apppreciates their support of refugees and our work in San Diego.

Thank you to Joy French and all the staff at Hilton Del Mar.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Successful Bike Drive!

IRC had a successful bike drive on Sunday, October 31st at the Velodrome Swap Meet!

We were able to gather more than 20 used bicycles and numerous bicycle parts throughout the day. IRC clients will receive the bicycle after they participate in a safety training course presented by the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

We are also looking to spend a weekend refurbishing old bikes to distribute. If you are interested in donating unused bicycle or participating in building used bikes, please email for more information.

Lastly, thank you San Diego Velodrome for hosting IRC at their event, Ken Egby from Bikes del Pueblo for coming out to help with the drive, and San Diego Bicycle Coalition for presenting the bicycle safety classes!

Job Placement of the Month: October

Samem, James and Wissam are Iraqi refugees resettled by the IRC San Diego. Both Wissam and Samem completed the IRCs Vocational ESL class, this class is designed for refugees to practice English grammar, work related vocabulary and job search skills. All three men worked very hard to improve their English and apply for jobs and they made job search appointments with their job developer regularly. James also worked with his job mentor Alan to apply for jobs.

They all started work as full time dishwashers in October at Flavor Restaurant in Del Mar.

Congratulations Samem, James and Wissam and thank you Flavor Restaurant!

Refugee teens participate in Facelift 2010

On Saturday, October 23, a dozen homes were painted and landscaped while several tons of trash were removed from homes, garages and alleys in the neighborhood of City Heights in east san Diego. Fifteen volunteers from the IRC Students Plus After School Program and 2 IRC Ambassadors removed taggings and graffiti from businesses and garages.

This efforts was part of the Fall 2010 Facelift, a NeighborWorks joint project between Community Housing Works and volunteer groups within the City Heights Community including the International Rescue Committee’s Students Plus Program.

Despite the rain, 500 community volunteers participated including groups from Bank of America and local elected officials offices.

To see photos of the day, click here.

IRC's Fresh Fund Highlighted!

Millier-McCune Magazine recently wrote an article about Farmers' Markets in low-income neighborhoods. The IRC in San Diego's Fresh Fund program at the City Heights Farmers' Markert was featured.

Have you visited the City Heights Farmers' Market yet? If not, It is worth a visit. On Saturdays from 9am to 1pm, you can find entertainment, unique hot food vendors (papusas, Ethiopian, Korean BBQ, Kettle Corn), and children’s activities.

And of course there is fresh produce – all pesticide free and sustainably, locally grown

And now, you can buy a Produce Bag for $15. The Produce Bag includes a variety of produce from the farmers who sell at the market and includes $20 worth of produce for $15. Customization is available. Order your bag by Friday at 5pm and pick up Saturday during the market. For more information or to submit an order, please contact

The City Heights Farmers' Market is located on Wightman between Fairmount Ave and 43rd Street (just south of University). There is free parking.The City Heights Farmers' Market operates every Saturday from 9am to 1pm at the corner of Wightman and Fairmount (1 block south of University).