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Drop in to the Friendship Center!

Community Ambassadors are here to help! As immigrants and former refugees, these ambassadors have “been through it all.” This life experience puts them in a unique place where they can address refugee needs with empathy and knowledge. Whether one is dropping into the Friendship Center for a quick hello or staying to work on a resume, Community Ambassadors (CAs) are here to make Spokane feel like home.

Manager Melissa Stipek describes the Friendship Center as “the happy side of World Relief.” Community Ambassadors plan and promote community-building events such as baby showers, field trips and holiday parties. They serve as bridges between World Relief and their various communities. They also ensure proper communication between staff and clients through interpretation services and by providing feedback to World Relief staff about trends, capacities and needs they hear in the communities.

Aimee Pacifique Byiringiro smiles in a selfie.

My name is Aimee (Also known as Paci) and I enjoy shopping. I am a Rwanda CA at World Relief. I came to the USA about 13 years ago. I was led to work at World Relief because it is the same organization that I came through as a refugee. I always want to help my community and this was the way to really help new comers on another level. 

Language spoken: Kinyarwanda 

My name is Natalia. I am a Slavic CA and have been in America for 17 years. I started working at World Relief because war went across my heart, and has affected and continues to effect my family in Ukraine and Russia. I want to help others hurting from these things and connect them to help. I have been teaching since I was 6 years old and love it. I currently work at Spokane Community College teaching level 2 English and get to know each new immigrant through my work. 

Language spoken: Russian  

My name is Janeth and I am a Spanish CA. I was born in Barranquilla; it is small city in Colombia. I came to the United States on vacation, fell in love and got married. I have been here since 1984. I love helping people because I get satisfaction when I do something good for others. I have been helping the Spokane community since 1996. By helping my community, I realize their needs and what they have experienced. This is one of the reasons why I chose to work for World Relief. My work at World Relief gives a sense of pride and identity, and I have also learned valuable knowledge and real-world skills. Those abilities have made me grow. I’m making the difference in people lives and impacting the world in different ways. 

Language spoken: Spanish

My name is Suhad Fahad and I am an Arabic CA. I’ve called the United States home for the past eight years, having arrived through a special Iraqi visa granted for my husband’s work alongside Americans at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Education has always been a paramount consideration for me, and upon my arrival, I harbored aspirations of attaining a comprehensive degree that would open doors to promising career opportunities. To achieve this, I embarked on a journey that included English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, pursued a Bachelor of Arts, and am currently immersed in a Master’s in Leadership program. 
Motivated by my deep appreciation for education, I sought ways to complement my academic endeavors with practical experience. That’s when I decided to become a volunteer at World Relief. My primary goal was to accumulate valuable hours that would fortify my resume, aligning my education with real-world applications. Fortunately, WR recognized my dedication and commitment, offering me a position as the Arab Community Ambassador. 
As the Arab Community Ambassador, I find myself entrusted with a myriad of responsibilities that provide me with the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge gained from my studies. This role is not just a title; it’s a dynamic position that allows me to contribute to the community positively. I’m dedicated to serving all communities at WR, striving to empower individuals and provide them with the necessary tools for a successful and independent life in their new surroundings. Together with my colleagues, I am committed to laying the foundation for a brighter future for everyone we assist. 

Language spoken: Arabic

My Name is Mohammad Saber Sediqi and I am the father of 11 kids. I am an Afghani CA and I have been living in the United States for two and a half years. I used to work with the United States Embassy in Kabul Afghanistan for 12 years, as well as with previous government of Afghanistan for 18 years. I started working with World Relief in October 2022 to help refugees. My community and I feel blessed when I help refugees, who are suffering from war because they really deserve to be helped.

Language spoken: Dari, Pashto, Persian, Urdu 

Hello! My name is Roman and I am a Ukrainian Housing Stabilization Specialist. I have been in America for 1.5 years now because I was forced to leave Ukraine as a result of Russian military aggression. I started working for World Relief because I wanted to be involved in supporting refugees who were forced to leave their homeland like me. I get a lot of positivity when my work helps people in difficult situations. 

Language spoken: Russian and Ukrainian 

My name is Tariq Safi. I enjoy exercising in the gym, and I’m an Afghan Housing Stabilization Specialist at World Relief. I came to the US in 2022. I started working at World Relief because war affected my life, my family my country, and my people. I was enthusiastic to work at World Relief because it is an organization where I can help others hurt by these things and connect them and newcomers to help in the US. 

Language spoken: Dari, Pashto, Persian 

My name is Brother, and I’m from D.R. Congo. As destiny would have it, my journey led me to the heart of Spokane, where I have not only found a home but also discovered my role as a dedicated Congolese Community Ambassador at World Relief. Spokane holds a special place in my heart. It’s not just a city; it’s a community that I proudly call home. I love Soccer. Fun fact: if it happens that I have a son in the future his name will be Brother Uncle Father. 

Language spoken: Swahili 

My name is Daisy. I am the Gap Service Coordinator at World Relief. I have lived in Washington most of my life and recently graduated with a BA in intercultural communication. I love cultures and desire to learn much about them. What better way than to work among CAs who have experienced a lot of other places?

Language spoken: English 

Community Ambassador Program Manager – Hi, my name is Melissa Stipek, but I go by Mely. I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. My first language is Spanish. I moved to the US when I was 17 and finished high school in Orlando. Then, I moved back to Colombia to get my bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature and business administration. I then moved to Spokane and had two wonderful kids, Mila (9) and Jack (7). I have worked for non-profits my whole life, and I am passionate about helping people. I also have a program called Mely’s Kitchen

Language spoken: Spanish 

Hello, my name is Sandra Rafferty but often called Sandy. I am a volunteer in the Friendship Center. After raising four children and working 36 years in a dental office, I retired in 2019. I chose to wait a few years before starting my volunteer journey due to my mom’s serious illness and the limitations imposed by the pandemic. 
In contemplating my ideal role as a volunteer, I envisioned working directly with people in need. When I discovered World Relief and applied as a volunteer, I had never heard of the organization. However, it has far surpassed my expectations, offering me a meaningful opportunity to impact the lives of others. For that I am very grateful. 

Language spoken: English

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