We have staked out program areas to cater to our communities, recognizing that we come from different cultures with shared “taboo” subjects. We partner with organizations to develop culturally specific programs for our communities. The program areas include, but not limited to: Mental Health; Orientation Programs; Criminal Justice; Civic Engagement.
Mental health is an issue within our communities. This is especially so in cases where there was a war in the country of origin. WAC partners with State and private groups to provide culturally appropriate information, research, and support for community members suffering from untreated mental illness or trauma from wars.
Data shows that non-refugee West African immigrants have the highest levels of education. On the other hand, refugees tend to have significantly lower levels of education and job skills. WAC works within our communities to identify opportunities for continued education and job training to enable immigrants to compete efficiently in the job market.
As immigrants our community is impacted differently by the various criminal laws. It is not unusual for especially new immigrants to be caught up in the criminal justice system for trying to discipline their children as is done in the “old country”. Most do not realize that there are immigration consequences for certain “crimes”. Pleading guilty to certain crimes may lead to deportation or removal proceedings. WAC aims to partner with entities to develop educational programs to sensitize our community aspects of the criminal justice system that may impact their lives.
New immigrants in our communities do not engage fully in civic activities spontaneously. Burdened with the difficulties of acculturation and the task of supporting multiple families in the US and those left behind in their home countries, civic engagement is not high on the hierarchy of needs. WAC works with other civic engagement groups to provide education and sensitivity to the need for immigrants to be engaged in their communities, also helping to improve leadership capacity within the communities.