Immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers have always been a part of our workforce and can be found throughout our agency. In our Refugee Employment and Acculturation Services (REAS) program, virtually every staff member has experienced the challenges of navigating the immigration system, overcoming language barriers and finding employment. Today, these essential staff members utilize their experiences to help other immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to find footing in the U.S.
Sally Samuel Mansour, JVS SoCal Refugee Employment and Acculturation Services Case Manager
Sally Mansour is a REAS case manager in JVS SoCal’s Canoga Park office. She sought asylum in the U.S. following the 2011 Islamic Revolution in Egypt. She was living in Cairo when her children began getting bullied for their religious beliefs. “It was getting harder and harder,” says Sally, who was the head of her household at the time when she decided to move with her two children to California.
After arriving in the U.S., she received assistance through the REAS program where she took advantage of Transitional Subsidized Employment and became a REAS case manager to help other refugees. Sally’s background in business administration, her own experiences as a refugee, and her desire to serve others made her a perfect fit for the REAS program operated by JVS SoCal. “It touches my heart,” says Sally, “to watch [refugees] who are motivated to do something for their families and establish their careers.”
Adreneh Tahmasian, JVS SoCal Refugee Employment and Acculturation Services Case Manager
Adreneh Tahmasian also works as a case manager at the Canoga Park REAS office. She and her family received help from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to come to the U.S. as refugees from Tehran, Iran. They spent six months at a Resettlement Support Center in Vienna, before arriving in Southern California. Adreneh received support from the REAS program and began searching for new career opportunities.
Adreneh gained work experience through subsidized employment and after serving in various clerical positions, she became a case manager for JVS SoCal in 2021. She says her experience as a refugee helps her better understand and serve individuals and families that in some instances arrive in this country with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
“I encourage them to not be afraid,” says Adreneh, “[in this country] there are a lot of ways to define [your] education,” She adds referring to the many resources and training that refugees and Immigrants can access through programs like REAS.
For over 90 years, case managers like Sally, Adreneh and the rest of the REAS staff have been providing services and resources to refugees and asylum seekers looking to build a new life, find gainful employment, and achieve stability. JVS SoCal is committed to uplifting communities by providing hope and economic opportunity for all.
To learn more about our programs serving immigrants and refugees, please visit: jvs-socal.org/program/gain-reas/