Paving the Path: With local elections just around the corner, this month’s newsletter focuses on how we help new Americans better engage with their communities and become involved in civic life.

Help Syrians and Other New Arrivals

From now through November 12, your contributions through our Georgia Gives Day page will help our new arrivals, including those arriving from the conflicts in Syria and across the Middle East. Georgia Gives Day, coordinated by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, invites all Georgians to give to their favorite non-profit and show just how generous our state can be!

Our goal is to raise $10,000 to help us serve increased arrivals this year. Be sure to join us on November 12 for this wonderful day of giving, and please share our profile far and wide!

Listen Up!

Tune in Wednesday, October 20, at 12:20 p.m. to WABE’s “A Closer Look” to hear New American Pathways Employment Specialist Abdul Haikal. Abdul will be speaking about his experience resettling in Atlanta after serving with the U.S. military in Afghanistan and his work serving new arrivals in Georgia. You can also listen live on

Syrians in the News

Congratulations to Samer, our first Syrian arrival in March 2015, who recently shared his story with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Samer continues to be a guiding light to his fellow new arrivals and a shining example of the benefits new Americans bring with them to our communities. We have several stories in the works, so stay tuned for more through our social media.

Learn more about how you can help Syrian refugees, and all new arrivals, on our
web site

Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Celebrating 10 Years With Paedia

This month we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our incredible Chief Executive Officer, Paedia Mixon. Paedia started her work with refugees as a volunteer English tutor and has since dedicated her life to welcoming and serving new arrivals in Georgia. We're so proud to have her leading our team, especially at this critical time after our merger last year. Listen to Paedia in action at the Vistage Executive Summit as she discusses our work, her history and our goals.
This month we thank donors who have provided in-kind donations to make new Americans feel more welcome and at-home upon arrival.
  • The Westminster Schools: High school students at Westminster recently wrapped up a huge donation drive of school supplies, diapers and backpacks in conjunction with their homecoming festivities. We’re so thankful for students focused on giving. 
  • Roswell Community Masjid (RCM): On October 17, over 30 members of RCM visited the homes of 12 new arrivals, bringing welcoming smiles, visitors and household items ranging from towels to food to small appliances. RCM is dedicated to welcoming many of our new arrivals, especially those coming from war-torn Middle Eastern countries. 
  • Maanasa TejaniEarlier this month Maanasa held an alternative gift party for her children. In lieu of the traditional gifts, party-goers brought diapers, school supplies and other high-need items to donate to new Americans. 
  • Finders Keepers ConsignmentThanks to our Finders Keepers friends for donating seven bags of coats from their local stores. These coats will help ensure new arrivals have a warm winter ahead.
  • Lena's Place Coffeehouse: Thanks to Central Congregational Church and Lena's Place Coffeehouse for donating their monthly show to support our work. Lena's is open on the second Saturday of each month and supports local charities. 
Here are our top in-kind donation needs this month:
  • Winter Coats / Accessories: We need coats, scarves, blankets and other items to help new arrivals stay warm.
  • Diapers: We need diapers for our youngest new arrivals.
Keep up with our most pressing needs on our Wish List and Amazon pages.

Fast Facts

This month our focus is on civic engagement with new Americans. For many new Americans, the ultimate goal after arrival is U.S. citizenship, which they are eligible for five years after arrival. Here are some major differences between citizens and permanent residents: 
  • U.S. citizens, unlike permanent residents, are able to vote in local, state, and federal elections. Since our work to register new voters began in summer 2014, we have, along with our partners, helped to register over 3,500 new Americans at local naturalization ceremonies.
  • Once a new American becomes a legal citizen, they are able to help sponsor their family members, who may still be living in unsafe conditions in other countries, to join them in the U.S. Children of U.S. citizens are also born as citizens, no matter where in the world they are born.
  • Citizens can run for office to publicly represent their community. In a partnership with the League of Women Voters of Georgia, this spring we helped to translate voter information materials into four additional languages, including Nepali, Burmese, Arabic, and Somali, to greater expand knowledge for new American voters.
On September 17, over 200 new Americans were registered to vote by New American Pathways and our community partners at Turner Field. Photo courtesy of GALEO. 

Creating a Welcoming Atlanta

This month we interviewed Luisa Cardona, who is the Deputy Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for the City of Atlanta and one of the staff members of Welcoming Atlanta. New American Pathways is proud to partner with Luisa and the Welcoming Atlanta office on voter registration and as part of their advisory committee.

Q: The Office of Immigrant Affairs was formed earlier this year after the success of the Welcoming Atlanta Work Group that was formed in 2014. Could you give us some insider insight on why the city felt it was so important to set up an Immigrant Affairs office?

A: I actually asked this very question in my interview. The program was initiated by Mayor Reed himself – it is very important to him. Atlanta is the birthplace of Civil Rights Movement, and this is a new civil rights battle to face. I want Atlanta to be on the right side of history.

That, in conjunction with seeing a growing number of foreign-born in the City of Atlanta (we’re actually the second fastest-growing population of foreign-born in the U.S.). We know that foreign-born populations open more businesses, and those that naturalize are more well-off than natural-born citizens. Seeing all those benefits pushed Mayor Reed to open the office and it’s something he’s passionate about. We also want this office to be the beacon of welcoming in what is often a less-than-friendly area. We want to be the contrast to what is often negative in the state.

Hear more from Luisa, including her reflections on Citizenship, Voter Registration, and Welcoming Week, on our web site

Former Red, White and New honored citizens Safia Jama and Beena Dahal are community leaders and educated voters.

From New Americans to Civic Leaders

In July 2013, Safia Jama was a new American citizen being honored for her incredible journey at the first annual Red, White and New event. In August 2014, Beena Dahal had her moment on stage as an honored citizen at the second annual event.

Now, both women are civically active and excited about their futures as Americans.

Both Safia and Beena worked hard to gain their citizenship. Beena and her husband studied for their U.S. Citizenship together, with Beena’s husband, a U.S. history and civic buff, often quizzing her on car rides. Safia, too, says she learned many lasting lessons in studying for the test. Before, she wasn’t even aware of the Georgia’ Governor’s name. Now she actively follows local politics and has met her U.S. Representative face to face – and spoken to him about her work resettling refugees. 

Read more about Safia and Beena on our web site.

Program Coordinator Lexie Linger (center) discusses advocacy and civic engagement with ethnic community leaders.

Engaging Community Leaders

The refugee and immigrant community has a strong voice, and we at New American Pathways are ready to help them raise it.  Earlier this month, we partnered with Church World Service to host an all-day advocacy training.  Participants learned how to register voters, recruit supporters, and share their life stories and missions effectively.  Encouraged by this training, participants expressed they felt inspired to continue their work and are interested in digging deeper into these topics.
Participants also enjoyed learning about resources that help them serve their communities better.  New American Pathways Community Engagement Program (CEP), in response to the need for refugee-friendly resources, has launched an online guide to community services in DeKalb County: the New American Network.  This online tool is part of a concerted effort to ensure welcoming communities have access to the resources they need to ensure their members feel safe, stable, self-sufficient, and successful. Part how-to guide and part Yellow Pages, the New American Network shares information about getting a driver’s license, registering to vote, enrolling children in school, accessing health services, and so much more.
If you haven’t yet, please visit us at! We thank CDF Action and the International Rescue Committee for their support in this project.

After 15+ years of volunteering, David Ross (left) still enjoys the little things - like showing up to voter registration wearing the same shirt as volunteers from two partner agencies. Pictured with Sam Aguilar (GALEO), Lyndon Waller (CPA-GA). 

Volunteer of the Month:
David Ross

David Ross has been with New American Pathways since the beginning – literally.

A founding member of the refugee ministry arm of the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta, David was one of seven board members present when that ministry first set out to become its own standalone organization on November 7, 2002. The organization, then known as RRISA, would become New American Pathways in October 2014 after a merger with Refugee Family Services (RFS).

In those 15 plus years, David has had the opportunity to hold many volunteer roles with the organization, from multiple years on the Board of Directors to founding the first Advisory Council and even serving as an interim Executive Director for a short time. But it is the early days of “all hands on deck” that he remembers most fondly.

“Meeting folks at the airport and setting up apartments – getting furniture donations from all over town a few times per year…we all pitched in,” David remembers of the time when the organization was so small that volunteers borrowed friends’ pickup trucks to haul donated furniture.

David is proud that in his time with the organization he’s seen an “explosion” in the “depth and breadth of services” New American Pathways offers, and that the “standing in the community” has grown with it.

Now David is spearheading a new effort to extend services for clients. 

To find out about David's new work, read the rest of his story on our web site.



21   WABE's "A Closer Look" features New American Pathways
Tune in at 12:20 p.m. to hear an interview with Employment Specialist Abdul Haikal. Abdul will be speaking about his experience resettling in Atlanta after serving with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. You can also listen live on

24   Volunteer Orientation 
To be held at the New American Pathways office from 10:45 am - noon. Contact Teni-Ola Ogunjobi to sign up at 


12   Georgia Gives Day
Join us for the state's largest day of giving on November 12 as we seek to raise $10,000 for new arrivals in Georgia! Bookmark our giving page and give during the biggest event of the season!

26-27   Office Closed: Thanksgiving
Plan ahead! Our offices will be closed the 26th and 27th to observe the Thanksgiving holidays. We will reopen Monday the 30th. 

2300 Henderson Mill Rd., NE  |  Suite 100  |  Atlanta, GA 30345  |  404.299.6099
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