Finding Hope in a New Country Through NVFS’ Family Reunification Program
With the support of NVFS, Cesar overcame challenges to find friends, a community and a brighter future.When Cesar was 14 years old, he came to the United States hoping for a brighter future and the opportunity to pursue his dreams. “I came with a dream for a better future, a hope for education and the goal of improving my life and the life of my family,” says Cesar. “I am hopeful.” But he immediately came head-to-head with various obstacles, such as a language barrier, adjusting to a new climate and becoming acquainted with a new community. “I went to live with my mother who I had not seen in seven years and two little brothers I did not know,” Cesar shares. “Learning English was difficult, but it has been fun for me to learn the language because knowledge is power.” Cesar was referred to Northern Virginia Family Service’s (NVFS) Family Reunification program, which helped him reconnect with his family, advocate for the services he needed, and provided support during times of struggle. “My case manager, Mary Ann, encouraged me when I felt sad by saying I can succeed and not to put limitations on myself,” Cesar explained. “She helps me with English and supports me in my goals. She helps me feel more confident and gives me the opportunity to try new things.”
Because of NVFS’ wraparound service model, in addition to receiving services through Family Reunification, Cesar and his family also receive assistance with school supplies through our Back-to-School Drive and gifts through our holiday initiative Gifting for Families.“The program has been so helpful to me by helping me build confidence and setting goals for myself,” Cesar says. “I am very happy now and have adjusted to living in this country with my family.” Cesar is currently a 16-year-old high school sophomore who enjoys school, meeting new people and preparing for the future. He is eager to continue his education and hopes to attend college to study filmmaking so he can travel the world and explore. “My dream is to establish a sanctuary for animals where the poor can live and work caring for the animals,” Cesar explains.