Staff Give Back

Toshio (right) during the 2016 AACI Staff Retreat

Rola, Case Worker at AACI Center for Survivors of Torture (CST), talks about why she chooses not only to work at AACI, but also to be a donor. Rola contributes to SV Gives, the yearly Silicon Valley online fundraising event for nonprofits. We are so inspired by her comments about giving.

Rola’s lifelong dedication to the community is astonishing. As a child, she watched her mother work as a teacher for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine in the Near East and witnessed the struggle of her Palestinian refugees’ classmates. Two years ago, Rola found a perfect match with AACI CST in a position where she serves refugees while using her Arabic language skills. “At CST, I work with refugees from all ethnicities. The help they need is essential. We are backing our clients and holding their hands to overcome the culture shock.” Rola said.

In addition to her work, Rola volunteers and donates money to nonprofits: “It is always important to give back. When we do so, we pay our debt to the community, society and country. And the feeling is priceless!”  

An AACI client spurred her philosophy to give even further. The client was receiving general assistance and food stamps. While helping him make a monthly plan, Rola noticed all his money went to his room rent, leaving him with less than a hundred dollars. AACI provided him with a monthly discounted bus pass, but he still had to pay $25, and he also needed to recharge his phone. One day, the client got a $50 donation and said: “50 dollars! I can pay my bus pass, I can charge my phone and I will be able to buy some soap and shaving cream!”

That statement transformed Rola’s vision: “My closet has a lot of $50 items. $50 made a huge difference in my client’s monthly living. Plenty of our clients cannot find $50. I now differentiate between “want” and “need“.” We should all follow Rola’s lead, step back and realize what we really need: to give back and help others.


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