Program connects African refugees to Southwest Philadelphia community

Southwest Philadelphia refugee assistance tamaa children's crisis treatment center
Credit: Children’s Crisis Treatment Center

The Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s West African Refugee Assistance Program, or Tamaa, held its sixth annual community cleanup Wednesday in Southwest Philadelphia. Participants divvied up duties and shared meals, but organizers hope they exchanged much more.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback from African Americans and different cultural groups about the separation between what we’re doing for West Africans versus what we’re doing for them, and they kind of see it as different from them,” CCTC director of community based services Edith Lopez said.

“That’s part of the education we have to give – to help get out a message to respect differences in cultures, but also to recognize the similarities.”

Tamaa was rolled out eight years ago after a young West African immigrant was bullied and brutally beaten in Southwest Philadelphia.

The initiative has since grown into a holistic program connecting child refugees and families with social services and community resources.

Tamaa also trains school employees to better recognize and address challenges faced by refugee students.

“The purpose for the family service provider is to get kids and their family acclimated, not only to services but just to the culture here,” Lopez said.

“It addresses behavioral health, mental health and socioeconomics, locating and identifying resources, and also different workshops where we kind of work through some of those traumatic issues they experience.”

Those include traumas stemming from war-related violence in refugees’ home countries, as well as those related to the difficulty of assimilating into a whole new culture that struggles with what Lopez calls “a different type of violence,” including street crime and biased-based bullying.

That’s why community events like the one held Wednesday are so important, according to Lopez.

“With our cleanups, we try to integrate ourselves into the community, along with the West African population, make ourselves visible and say, ‘We’re here to help everybody,’” she said.

“We are limited by our program but are trying to help as may people as possible. Community events are open to everybody and cultural groups in the Southwest area come and get to mingle and talk to each other about what’s going on.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

Local

Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.