Crystal family offers ‘New Hope’ to immigrants

“My name is Fardowsa Ibrahim, 22 years old and a fourth year Medical Laboratory Sciences major at the University of Vermont. I identify as a first generation college student and as a Black, Muslim woman who wears a hijab. I was born in Kenya and my parents are from Somalia. I got married at 18 years old. I am a wife, full time student and mother. My parents came here because of war and wanted to give my siblings and me an opportunity to receive an education in a safe environment.”
The pilgrims came to escape religious persecution and political turmoil to start a new life in a new land.
Abdelali Amrani came to Burlington in February 2017 from Morocco. “My Family and I faced many hardships and challenges. Being homeless and unemployed was not the ideal situation for raising a New American family.” After help from CVOEO, the State and COTS, and “armed with a precise action plan along with a lot of determination and perseverance, I was able to write a business plan for our future Moroccan restaurant, enroll as a full-time student at CCV this summer to study business law, land a job as an interpreter with AALV, and was promoted soon after as an interpreter coordinator with this amazing organization.”
To Plymouth Rock, Ellis Island and Burlington, Vt. we come.
The Crystal Family came from Europe and entered the United States through Ellis Island. Jon and his brother Andrew established the Crystal Family New Hope Award to be presented to two New American recipients. Jon describes the $500 awards this way. “The New Hope Award recognizes and honors the contributions, accomplishments and potential of those who are, or are striving to become, new Americans. The people it celebrates are the ‘new hope’ for this country, enriching it in important ways. At the same time, this country represents ‘new hope’ for these individuals, as their lives are shaped anew.” Ibrahim and Amrani were the first to receive this award on November 16, 2017.
Jon Crystal is a former CVOEO Board Chair and from his awareness of the work of CVOEO originated the idea for this award. The Crystal Family gives its time and skill past and present to the work of non-profits, the Peace Corps, justice efforts for refugees and building up of our community.  Andrew is the other benefactor for this Award. He found his passion and purpose in Amrani’s words “My family and I are very fortunate to have been surrounded by so many great people who have helped us transition quickly from the dangers of homelessness … We hope in the near future to be able to give back to this community and to help inspire others to do the same.” 
Thanksgiving is the most important and treasured holiday for the Crystal Family. They established the New Hope Award to give now so that others can do the same later.
We gather together and do give thanks.
Jan F. Demers, Executive Director, CVOEO – 802-862-2771 ext. 740 – [email protected]

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