President Barack Obama chose Temple University's Patience Lehrman for one of the country's highest civilian honors.
Lehrman, national director of Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders, or SHINE, was selected as one of 18 citizens to receive the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal. The medal, which is considered the country’s second-highest civilian honor, is given in recognition of exemplary service to the country and its citizens.
President Barack Obama will welcome recipients for a ceremony at the White House on Friday. Obama selected 18 Americans out of 6,000 public nominations to receive the award.
Lehrman, who immigrated to the United States from Cameroon in 1997, was nominated by folks at John Bartram High School in West Philadelphia where she supports a program for mentoring high students. She said that as an immigrant, this honor is a reflection of the value immigrants represent to the country.
"Look at how we can come together, establish a common agenda for really engaging newcomers in our various neighborhoods, give them the skills they need and give them the support they need to become part of the fabric of this society," said Lehrman, who joined SHINE four years ago. "But more importantly leverage the talent that they bring with them."
SHINE, which is an immigrant integration initiative at the Intergenerational Center of Temple University, engages college students and older adults to provide language and health education, citizenship and civic participation lessons to immigrant communities, according to the White House website.
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