Vince Finds His Voice

On an early October morning in Burundi in 1993, Vince’s life changed forever. He and his parents were getting ready to leave for church.

Then, the gunshots began. Their village was under attack, and Vince’s family was forced to flee first to the Democratic Republic of Congo, then across the border to neighboring Tanzania. When they resettled to the U.S. in 2008, they were relieved and eager to build their new home away from the trauma they’d experienced. But learning English and finding work presented a new struggle.

They turned to LSI’s Refugee Community Services, which provide English as a Second Language classes to former refugees in central Iowa.

“It took my family time to adjust, and this is where LSI was crucial,” Vince says. “They taught us English and helped us settle down and understand what we had to do for a good transition to Iowa.”

LSI’s Refugee Community Services provide English classes, arrange transportation and childcare for participants, and assist former refugees as they study for their U.S. Citizenship Exam.

Vince is grateful for the LSI volunteers who helped his family, and he is still friends with many of them today.

With the help of his ESL classes and supportive LSI instructors, Vince eventually became fluent in English. He has since graduated from college at Drake University and started a career at Wells Fargo to help support his family.

Vince dreams of raising a family in Iowa and one day owning a business. But every step of the way, he wants to give back and support other families who’ve experienced trauma or displacement.

“I am filled with hope and I am not afraid to face tomorrow. We’re very impressed by the people who received us, especially LSI,” Vince says. “To build a life for yourself, something you never could have imagined before, that has stuck with me. I hope to support others in the same way LSI has supported me.”

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