The Gift of Empowerment

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 When refugees find out they are going to be resettled in America, they start to dream—and they dream big. They know of America as the land of opportunity, where anything is possible anyone can have the chance to make something of themselves. So they dream big.

And to us, that’s what refugee resettlement is all about: Helping refugees build their American dreams.

When Denys found out he and his family were going to be resettled in America, he immediately knew what he wanted to do: he wanted to be a truck driver. He had always had a thing for big machines. In his home country of Ukraine, he worked as a mechanic, repairing trucks, tractors and other large machinery. But it was never enough to provide for his family, especially not once the corrupt local government took their share of his pay. But he had heard that in America, if he could learn to drive big trucks over long distances, he could provide his family with a warm, beautiful home and give his children a future. So that’s what he decided to do.

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Canopy’s case manager, Francisco, had barely finished showing Denys and his family around their new house last June before Denys started asking him about truck driving. How could he get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)? And when could he start working? And how much did he think he could earn? After years and years of waiting, Denys was ready to get started. 

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He sat down with our director of employment, Khalid, and the two drew out a plan. First, Denys would need a regular driver’s license, and he would have to wait a few months for all his documents to come through in order to apply for one. In the mean time, Khalid would help him enroll in English class and study for the test. So that’s what they did. Denys and his wife biked to English class every day and studied the driver’s manual together regularly. By the time Denys had all his documents in place, he knew it front to back and he passed the test on his first try.

One month later, he enrolled in a 4-week CDL training program in Springdale. As soon as he had finished, he took the test and passed that one on his first try too. Within days, Khalid started getting pictures from Nebraska, Illinois and California as Denys drove his truck all across the US.

Denys’ American dream is coming true.

Together with our co-sponsors, employers and educators, Canopy has helped 19 other adults take steps toward their American Dreams in 2018. We’ve helped a young woman to become a Certified Nursing Assistant on her way to becoming a nurse. We’ve helped a single mother sign up for an online computer programming class so that she could eventually get a job in the technical support field. And we’ve helped our very first client enroll in college.

This coming year, help us to continue to bring our families’ American Dreams to fruition—and help us launch the dreams of those who have yet to come.

With $150, you can cover the cost of 3 weeks of job training for a refugee when they first arrive. We’re looking for 19 friends to contribute this amount this week— one contributor for every adult we’ve place in a job this year.

Give the gift of empowerment this season.

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