Another Huge Development in Direct Social Services at ICSC
By: Abeer Gaber
The Islamic Center of Southern California is proud to announce the new program Muslim and Arab American Resource Corps (MAARC) in collaboration with ACCESS California Services. ACCESS has successfully obtained a grant from the AmeriCorps organization to have members whom they hire to work in two departments, Employment Services and Mental and Physical Health Services for the next year. As part of this grant, ACCESS has agreed to have its first satellite location at the Islamic Center of Southern California. They have chosen the Islamic Center because of its long history of service for the community in different areas as well as an open space for people of all faiths to come together to heal through discussion or to work together to tackle real-world problems. The Islamic Center of Southern California also has history in being the first masjid in Southern California. ACCESS and the ICSC have chosen to have two members to be placed at the Islamic Center of Southern California and they are, Abeer Gaber and Jenien Barakat. Abeer will be handling the Employment Services aspect of this program, which means that she will be assisting clients in their search for a job. In addition, she will be assisting them in finding language classes if needed and any other financial matters that it is in her capacity in this role to do. Jenien will be handling the Mental and Physical Health Services part of this program. This means that Jenien will be helping the clients obtain health insurance if they do not have any and working with clients to overcome any physical or mental impediments which stop them from living a full and productive life. Both members have prior experiences in serving the community in different ways. This program is part of the center’s goal to continuously expand the types and number of services that it offers the community.
ACCESS California Services is a non-profit organization with roots in the Orange County area that was established in 1998 by Nahla Kayali. ACCESS California Services’s mission statement is “ culturally oriented community-based organization dedicated to empowering the under-served Arab-American and Muslim-American communities, enhancing their quality of life and increasing their self-determination through direct services, referrals and/or enrollment in community and government assistance programs.” Although, ACCESS targets Arab Americans and American Muslims, their services are open to everyone. ACCESS provides many different types of services to the community including Counseling and Support Services, Education, Employment and Tax Preparation, Financial Assistance, Health Access and Immigration.
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