The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians is located in my building in downtown Philly, and until recently were on the same floor as me, so I saw these folk every day.

The purpose of the Center is to help new arrivals to this country get through the interminable hoops of immigration and help them get a start in this country. Check out their website.

The manager of the Center is one of noticeably Irish origin, with an endearing brogue. She would probably kill me to know that I call it endearing, but gosh it sure is. Her story is fascinating. In Ireland, she was a nurse. When she came to America with her husband, she had to go through literally years of red tape in order to get her nursing degree recognized here. Her goal is to help those with similar obstacles get through the mounds of red tape and government inertia. The Center serves as a guide.

A few weeks ago, the Center moved to a different floor in the same building. They were all so excited ! New digs, a new look…better in many ways.

The first week they were there some pipes broke in the building and everything was flooded. Computers, furniture, carpeting…everything ruined. They worked hard to start to get things taken care of, and then a few days later the same thing happened: more water everywhere.

In addition to dealing with this, of course they were concerned about clients they were working with and the new clients coming into the Center evey day. People looking for help, and they barely had a place to sit.

I felt so bad for them…they had been so excited over their new digs.

For the time being, they have relocated back to my floor in their original spot: bare and drab for sure, and no computers, but at least it is dry.

I was walking down the hall with one of the employees of the Center, commisserating with her over their unfortunate string of bad luck.

“Ah, but we’ll get over it.”, she said. “We’ll get past it.”

With an attitude like that, they cannot possibly fail.


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Filed under Interesting People, Survival

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