NICE Newsletter: October 2013

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Karam and Ban

The journey to U.S. Citizenship for Karam Karim (pictured third from left) and Ban Hassan (pictured third from right) covered 6,949 miles and 9 years. Born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, Karam was forced to flee his home in fear for his life in 2004. He sought refuge in Amman, Jordan where he was there he lived until 2008 when he was resettled to Nashville.

While travelling from Jordan to the U.S., Karam had the good fortune to meet his future wife. Ban Hassan had gone through the same situation as Karam and was on her way to Nashville as well. This chance meeting resulted in marriage a year after they were resettled in the United States.

Those first years were tough as neither spoke English when they arrived making communication difficult. Ban was enrolled in high school where she took ESL classes and Karam practiced his English by speaking to individuals in the community, using his pocket dictionary when needed. Soon, they were able to speak English fluently, but other challenges continued. They had no car, no jobs and no friends.

Karam and Ban were determined to succeed. Their dedicated approach in learning English translated to every other aspect of their lives. Karam found work at Burlington Coat Factory as a cashier and Ban graduated from high school. Once eligible, they came to NICE for guidance through the citizenship process.

Karam and Ban met with Aisha White, NICE's Immigration Specialist, to apply for U.S. citizenship. After completing the applications, they joined the Citizenship Preparation Program at NICE. Using their familiar determined approach, fueled by their passion to become citizens of the United States, along with the assistance of NICE staff and volunteers, Karam and Ban mastered the material and accomplished their goal.

Today, Karam and Ban still live in Nashville with their two children. Both Karam and Ban are currently taking classes at Nashville State Community College. After finishing school, they hope to advance their careers and contribute even more as citizens of the United States. They credit their good fortune and their positioning for future success to the Immigrant and Citizenship Preperation Programs at NICE. Karam and Ban still communicate with both Donna, their Citizenship teacher and Aisha, NICE's Immigration Specialist, on a regular basis.

NICE exists to help each and every refugee and immigrant in Nashville. Karam and Ban are just two of the many individuals taking advantage of the services at NICE. If you would like more information regarding any immigration services, contact Aisha White via email or phone at 615-678-7273.

Announcements & Upcoming NICE Events

Congratulations to Kendra Yates who was voted NICE Volunteer of the Month for October 2013! 
Kendra is an intern in the Health Department at NICE. She helps with health screenings, administrative tasks, and the fitness class. Kendra is incredibly responsible, reliable, and always goes the extra mile to make sure that projects are completed correctly and on-time. Thank you for all you do, Kendra!

Gat was featured in the Cumberland University publication The Rising Phoenix. Read the article here.

"Where Are They Now" is a feature NICE dedicates to previous interns and volunteers to highlight what they are currently doing. If you are a former intern or volunteer at NICE and would like to be featured in the newsletter, please contact for more info.

NICE's Student Celebration will be held on December 14th at Glencliff High School from 12-2pm. NICE students will be honored for the work they have done in the semester. If you wish to attend, simply bring a dish to share in the pot-luck meal following the ceremony. We hope to see you there.

Donate to NICE
Purchase Gat's Book

One World, One Dream: 2013 Refugee Benefit

One World, One Dream: 2013 Refugee Benefit is a dinner celebrating Nashville's new Americans and honoring those individuals, groups and organizations that have gone above and beyond to support the refugee and immigrant community in Middle Tennessee.

Awardees will include:

  • Tom Negri and the Metro Human Relations Commision
  • Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
  • Amy Richardson and Vanderbilt University
  • Doug Martin and Prince Partners, Inc.
Event Info:
November 21st, 2013
Quattro Evento Reception
403 Allied Dr, Nashville, TN

To purchase tickets or to find more information, please click here.

Where Are They Now: Katie Gibson

Katie Gibson worked at NICE in 2011 as an Administrative Intern as she was finishing her undergraduate degrees at Middle Tennessee State 
University (MTSU). During her tenure at NICE, Katie answered phones and performed general organizational duties. Katie made great strides improving and organizing administrative processes at NICE.

After finishing her degrees in International Relations and Global Studies at MTSU, she continued her education at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.  There, she wrote her master's thesis and received an MSc in International Relations.   Recently, she joined the admissions office at Cumberland University as the Graduate and International Admissions Representative.

Katie was a very willing intern, doing whatever was needed to help NICE programs. We wish her the best of luck in her new job and are thankful for all she did for NICE!

How Can You Help?

We are in constant need of volunteers, interns and donations at NICE. Visit these pages to learn how you can get involved.

If you are interested in volunteering or interning with NICE, you can visit our program pages to see which program interests you. Contact Allison Cantway at 615-678-7273 or for more details.

If you have any questions or want to find other ways to get involved, simply email and someone will be happy to assist you!

Copyright © 2013 Nashville International Center for Empowerment, All rights reserved.

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