Amira Pankey is an Americorps access member, employment specialist, and immigrant assistance center coordinator serving at the Faith Action International House.

Faith Action is a nonprofit organization with three primary functions: to connect the immigrant and non-immigrant community, to educate, and to offer services. Pankey works with the service part, having begun in September and ending in August. During her time with Faith Action, Amira has helped immigrants and refugees in all matters of employment, from resume preparation, helping with cover letters, to applying for jobs. As an immigrant assistance center coordinator, she also aids clients through basic needs such as if their roof is leaking.

With a bachelor’s degree in social work, Pankey loves that Faith Actions utilizes the same skills she used to obtain her degree.

When asked if her service posed any challenges, Amira said that the incompatible nature of the North Carolina system toward immigration is often frustrating.

“It’s constantly trying to navigate the system that’s so broken and so not welcoming to a lot of the clients that we serve. That can exist in any area of service from employment to housing. There are a lot of anti-immigrant sentiments around, espec ially in the south. That’s why our advocacy is important, our education is important.”

As for service highlights, Pankey told a story that happened last month.

“An employment client came in and we were checking her email because she doesn’t have access to internet at her home. She had an interview in 30 minutes. We rushed to her house, getting her a change of clothes, and rushed to the site so she could get her interview.”

With the client not knowing what the interview had in store, Pankey quizzed her while driving and figuring out where to go.

“The client was so grateful to have an opportunity for an interview even if she wouldn’t get the position and that made me feel good that I was helping somebody and the community.” !

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