Like memories of their beloved homeland, art remains within the heart and soul of refugee artists. Their art offers a way to connect new neighbors to the culture and stories of their past. World Refugee Day is Sunday, June 20, and a celebration of artists new to our land is being planned. Dr. Shadin Atiyeh of Jewish Family Services, the refugee resettlement agency in Washtenaw County, gives all the details to Creative Washtenaw's Deb Polich and WEMU's David Fair on this week's edition of "creative:impact."
Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy. In the weeks and months to come, 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and co-host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of Creative Washtenaw, explore the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.
ABOUT JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES OF WASHTENAW COUNTY:
Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, Inc. (JFS) was established as a nonprofit human services agency in 1993 and currently assists about 20,000 people per year in Washtenaw County and beyond. JFS operates from the key philosophical principles of Judaism, including the ideas of “repairing the world one person at a time” and “welcoming the stranger.” JFS strives to be a trusted, stable source of professional, compassionate, affordable services for all. The agency serves a diverse, international population including anyone and everyone in Washtenaw County; no one is turned away. The agency’s core areas of expertise include community and counseling services, older adults, employment, specialty nutrition, and refugee services. JFS is the only U.S. State Department-certified refugee resettlement agency in Washtenaw County. The mission of JFS is: Create solutions. Promote dignity. Inspire humanity.
ABOUT DR. SHADIN ATIYEH:
Shadin Atiyeh, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) who serves as a clinical therapist, a supervisor, and the director of the Employment & Economic Empowerment Programs at Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County. Dr. Atiyeh also serves as a lecturer in the Counselor Education Department at Wayne State University. She is a National Certified Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, Certified Career Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and Certified EMDR Therapist.
Dr. Atiyeh holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in both psychology and Arab studies, a master’s degree in community counseling from Eastern Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from Walden University.
Dr. Atiyeh works with children, adults, and families on a broad spectrum of issues, including trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, isolation, cultural issues, and career development. She has experience working in community agencies serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, immigrants and refugees, abused and neglected children, and homeless families.
Over the past eight years with JFS, Dr. Atiyeh has supported people in their career journey and cultivated opportunities for people to share their skills and abilities through employment, volunteering, and small business entrepreneurship in Washtenaw County.
Dr. Atiyeh has deep experience working with artists and enterpreneurs under the JFS brand known as JFSMade. She is also skilled at designing programs to honor and celebrate World Refugee Day.
Building on this experience, Dr. Atiyeh is excited to be able to present to the Washtenaw County community an artistic and cultural project for World Refugee Day on June 20, 2021. This year’s program is made possible in part through generous grant support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Creative Washtenaw.
WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2021 AT JFS: CELEBRATING REFUGEE ARTS
by Amanda Fahim
World Refugee Day is observed annually throughout the world and will be commemorated this year on June 20, 2021. The day is dedicated to raising awareness about the contributions of refugees throughout the world. Since mid-2020, an estimated 80 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced. Of those, 45.7 million were displaced internally, 26.3 million were refugees, and 4.2 million were seeking asylum. Notably, an estimated 30 to 34 million (38 to 43 percent) of those who were forcibly displaced were children under the age of 18, according to data collected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
On May 3, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that his administration would be raising the cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 for the 2021 fiscal year, more than quadrupling the 15,000 limit set by the past administration. Increasing the cap for fiscal year 2021 admissions is reinforcing administration efforts to expand capacity. Capacity expansion efforts are expected to enable the U.S. to welcome even more refugees in fiscal year 2022, as much as doubling the fiscal year 2021 number again.
Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Washtenaw County, Inc., is a nonprofit social service agency offering a broad array of safety net human services to the county’s most vulnerable residents in pursuit of the agency’s mission to create solutions, promote dignity, and inspire humanity. Established in 1993, JFS is the only certified refugee resettlement agency in Washtenaw County. For 28 years, JFS has worked to promote the successful integration and inclusion of refugees and other immigrants in the local community.
Through dedicated staff and volunteers, and in cooperation with a wide range of community partners, JFS strives to be a catalyst to meet the human service needs of its diverse clients. These services include refugee resettlement and integration services, employment and economic empowerment, aging and caregiver support, community assistance, international services, food security, digital literacy training, transportation services, and counseling services. JFS also provides microenterprise development services to refugees and other community members, supporting their endeavors to share their skills and talents through the launch of small businesses. The microenterprise development (MED) program unites a community of refugee artists and others. The program includes jewelry makers, dancers, fabric makers, culinary artists, and painters. JFS assists these entrepreneurs in sharing their skills and products with the community through the JFSMade brand.
In this spirit of unity, JFS will be honoring World Refugee Day in 2021 by celebrating refugee contributions to the arts and showcasing examples of their vital impact on the quality of life in the region, including through shared opportunities to celebrate diverse expressions of arts and culture. JFS will be hosting cooking demonstrations of foods from around the world and will provide a digital cookbook highlighting the recipes of refugees and immigrants. In addition, the event will feature performances and showcase a tapestry of fabric squares made by JFS clients. Each square will highlight the distinctive arts, culture, and history of a client’s place of origin. Greeting cards will be available for purchase to showcase the tapestry and feature more information about the makers.
Everyone is invited to attend World Refugee Day events at JFS on June 20, as well to visit JFSMade vendor booths at the Ypsilanti Farmers Market every Saturday (9am-1pm) through October. Each Saturday, a different JFSMade vendor makes products available for purchase at the market. Some are the products of refugee-owned businesses in the MED program; others are products offered by non-refugee clients who received grants or low-interest loans from JFS for their businesses. Selling products at the JFSMade market booth gives vendors the opportunity to promote their business and connect with members of the Washtenaw County community. Programs like these are made possible at JFS in part through the generous support of grants from HIAS, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Citizens Bank, and others.
For more information about the JFS World Refugee Day celebration, please visit the website at www.jfsannarbor.org, and to learn more about the beautiful JFSMade products for sale on Saturdays at the Ypsilanti Farmers Market, please visit www.jfsannarbor.org/jfsmade.
World Refugee Day in 2021 by celebrating refugee contributions to the arts, made possible in part through the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and Creative Washtenaw. The support of MCACA and the Arts Alliance for this event is just one of many examples of the entities’ vital impact on the quality of life in the region, including through shared opportunities to celebrate diverse expressions of arts and culture. JFS will be hosting cooking demonstrations of foods from around the world and will provide a digital cookbook highlighting the recipes of refugees and immigrants. In addition, the event will feature performances and showcase a tapestry of fabric squares made by JFS clients. Each square will highlight the distinctive arts, culture, and history of a client’s place of origin. Greeting cards will be available for purchase to showcase the tapestry and feature more information about the makers.
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