meet yasmin ahmed

"...I knew this was the work that I should do."

“I was an information management systems major in college with two babies at home.  After graduation, my friend suggested I apply to JFS.  I had no interest in human services; I was a hot shot computer major, but I did apply. Shortly into my job as a Family Support Specialist, I knew this was the work that I should do.  I didn’t belong in a cubicle, staring at a computer all day.” 

Over the years, Yasmin has helped hundreds of refugees adjust to their new lives.  Most of her clients are from Somalia and have little knowledge of western culture when they arrive. 

“Some of the people I work with do not know how to flush a toilet when they arrive.  I help to give each of my families the skills and tools they need to be successful.  Sometimes it’s overcoming a language barrier, or accompanying them to the emergency room because a child needs medical attention and I’ve even been a birth coach for a mom.  When one client saw a car dealership for the first time, he thought cars rained down from the heavens.  It is a thrill to see my clients learn to drive a car, graduate from high school and go on to college.  Refugees see us as their extended family.  I’ve been invited to their weddings and graduations.  Our clients are so appreciative; they honor us by naming their children after us. Today there are five little Yasmins running around Springfield.   I feel so good knowing that I was part of their journey and it reminds me to be grateful for all I have.  One of my clients promises to take care of me when I’m old; this boy plans to attend college and wants to work at JFS some day.”  

Like other staff members, Yasmin knows that JFS is a special place. 

“There is no place, other than the UN, to have so many different cultures, languages and religions represented.  We are so diverse, but we are so much the same.  When we hear a cry for help, we respond.”