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Meet Ben

December 11, 2023

Staff Spotlight: Responding to Crisis

Image of Ben, resettlement and integration coordinator

Two months ago, Ascentria and our community were called upon to support 49 Haitian families, many with young children, in an emergency response. The Services for New Americans team has acted quickly to address urgent needs like organizing food delivery, medical appointments, and partnering with local nonprofits. Ben, Resettlement and Integration Coordinator at Ascentria, has been working with the Haitian migrants since day one and is leading the charge to welcome our new neighbors with dignity.

“When the first group of migrants came last year, I was just a business owner in the city. I am by trade a realtor, investor, and restaurateur.” When a friend told Ben that there was a group of Haitian migrants in Worcester who didn’t have food or support, he created a group called the Haitian Coalition and sprang into action.

For two months they provided food, clothes, transportation, and community. He decided that he could make an even bigger impact working with Ascentria. At Ascentria he coordinates partnerships with other non-profits and donors and is an important advocate for Haitian migrants.

“The major issue confronting Haitian migrants right now is stigma. There is an assumption from some people that new arrivals don’t want to work, when the reality is the opposite. Every single one of them is dying to start working. They are so adamant about wanting to work, but they are not allowed to until they get work authorization. If they are caught working, they could get deported. They are here legally, and they are obligated to be on government assistance because that is the only way for them to survive.”

CEO and President of Ascentria, Angela Bovill added, “Resettlement work remains a critical aspect of global efforts to protect and assist those in need, and it requires community cooperation and compassionate support to ensure that new arrivals can start anew and contribute positively to society. We feel fortunate to play a part in their new beginning.”

Join us in urging the Biden Administration to fix this problem by streamlining and expediting the processing of new arrivals’ work authorization requests. Take 30-seconds to email your legislator. Your voice can help drive change!

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