Creativity in Crisis: Our Partners Provide Essential Services Throughout the Pandemic
photo credit: Familias Solidarias Honduras
International Social Service, ISS-USA (ISS-USA) continues to provide personalized assistance to vulnerable families, despite the uncertainty of the global COVID-19 pandemic. ISS-USA has partnered with Familias Solidarias Honduras (FSH) to provide reintegration services for children deported to Honduras. Services include food assistance, supporting school enrollment, and connecting children and families to medical and mental health care.
The unexpected challenges of COVID-19 limit families’ access to basic amenities, and eliminate the ability for FSH to conduct in-person visits. FSH continues to be a resource, as they gain permission to make direct cash transfers to families. FSH's team remain actively involved as they conduct family meetings through video calls, while providing counseling and training on topics of migration, disease prevention, domestic violence, and family relationship building.
The 48 families served so far in this program use their funds to purchase food and basic supplies, pay rent on their homes, and invest in their businesses. We congratulate our partners in Honduras for their creativity in crisis.
Partner Spotlight: Going Above and Beyond to Help Children and Families
ISS-USA 's partner, Siria Valasquez (pictured above), has recently gone to great lengths to help vulnerable children and families in Honduras.
Limited mobility exists throughout the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is difficult for Siria to physically access many of the families she works with. To continue her work, she is accessing her clients remotely to complete homestudies via computer.
Siria has also found innovative ways to deliver food and essential supplies to families, and meet with them throughout the process of reunification.
Origins of Self-Discovery
photo credit: Andrew Mossin
International Social Service (ISS) coordinated Andrew Mossin's adoption from Greece in 1959. Thirty-five years later, in 1994, Andrew contacted ISS to find information about his biological mother. ISS agents were able to contact his mother and provide a narrative of her life and how his adoption transpired. ISS social workers in Greece facilitated translated letters between the two.
After his mother’s passing, Andrew requested his complete file from the ISS archives. The numerous fragile documents, including intake interviews, letters, and photographs, were scanned and sent to him. Andrew is using this newfound information to piece together the details of his early life, which he is expanding upon in a memoir.
To read a segment of his work, click here .
If you are interested in tracing a biological family member, contact ISS-USA here .
Casework Corner: Fernando Reunites with His Family
In 2019, Fernando* was detained at the U.S border with his older brother, when they arrived pursuing employment in order to assist their single mother and three other siblings. Upon Fernando's return to Guatemala, ISS-USA coordinated and paid for Fernando’s mother to travel to the airport to embrace her son safety back home. Once in Guatemala, the social worker visited the family, provided amenities, enrolled Fernando and his siblings in school, offered emotional support to his mother, and guided the family through the reunification process.
Months later, COVID-19 begot uncertainty and resource scarcity in Guatemala. Although travel limitations prevent individuals from leaving or entering Fernando’s community, the social worker consistently calls the family every week, and continues to ensure that they receive their monthly food basket. She also provides public health information to the family, and regularly checks up on Fernando to verify his progress in remote learning. Despite a debilitating pandemic, ISS-USA continues to be actively involved in the wellbeing and safety of Fernando and his family.
*names and locations have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.
Farewell to Marie
ISS-USA's Senior Development and Communications Officer, Marie Blum, will leave her position on August 14th to pursue another professional opportunity.
Throughout her time at ISS-USA, Marie made valuable contributions to the organization, including the establishment of ISS-USA's first TCS NYC Marathon charity team.
Marie looks forward to continuing her relationship with ISS-USA in the future as a volunteer and donor.
Farewell to Tracey and Hannah
In July, ISS-USA bid goodbye to two case management interns, Tracey and Hannah. Tracey recently graduated from the University of Baltimore with a master's degree In Global Affairs and Human Security. Hannah recently graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a master's degree in Social Work.
The ISS-USA staff will greatly miss them and support them as they move on to do great things in their careers.
ISS-USA is Taking on New Cases Remotely
ISS-USA believes that being creative in a crisis will allow more cases to move forward even when we cannot be physically present.
ISS-USA has developed guidelines for conducting remote assessments, including home studies, community surveys, and post-placement reports. If you have cases that need immediate attention, please send a referral to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
WE ARE HIRING!
ISS-USA is currently hiring a Development and Communications Coordinator! Click here to visit our careers page and see the full job description.
Attention social workers in NH, ME, VT, and Upstate NY : we want to hear from you!
ISS-USA is looking for social workers to complete occasional assessments with families in your state. We will provide you with guidance throughout the work and you will help us directly serve families who are seeking to care for their relative children in another state or country. Check out the description here . Please contact Elaine Weisman at email@example.com for more information.
The International Social Service Network is Recruiting!
International Social Service is recruiting new partners! Visit the ISS website for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest. Join our 90+ year old network of cross border experts!