Press Releases

 ACCESS CALIFORNIA SERVICES TO HOST A DRIVE-THRU FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN LOVING 

MEMORY OF JOSEPH AWAIDA, RAIHAN DAKHIL, AND BABY OMAR 

KILLED BY A SUSPECTED DUI DRIVER LAST YEAR 

 

This Day of Service will raise awareness about driving under the influence (DUI) and will continue

the mission of the family to serve others. 

 

[Anaheim, California, October 22, 2020] — Starting at 12:00 Noon on October 31, 2020, Access California Services (AccessCal) along with community volunteers will distribute food to the underserved community in Orange County. AccessCal is hosting a drive-thru food distribution in loving memory of Joseph Awaida, Raihan Dakhil, and Baby Omar who tragically lost their lives when they were hit by a suspected DUI driver while walking on Halloween last year. Their passing shook the community and brought hundreds of people together who mourned the loss of the family. 

 

“We at AccessCal deeply condemn DUI and are hosting this community event to raise awareness about DUI as well as to honor the family’s tradition of giving. We call on members of the community to volunteer on this day and join us in condemning DUI that took the lives of this beautiful young family,” said Nahla Kayali, Founder and Executive Director of AccessCal. To volunteer, email your name and phone number to Nedda Elhaija at nedda@accesscal.org by Monday, October 26, 2020. A fundraiser has also been initiated for this Day of Service. Donations can be made via this link.

 

This community event is sponsored by Access California Services, Baby Nutrition and A World With Compassion. It is endorsed by Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Shia Muslim Council of Southern California, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Islamic Institute of Orange County (IIOC), CAIR California – Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter, Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOC), The Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF), and Yalla Mazzika FM Radio. 

 

About Access California Services

Access California Services (AccessCal) is a 22-year-old, culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization. AccessCal provides wrap-around health and human services to all underserved communities with a focus on Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants. However, the AccessCal principle is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race or ethnicity. AccessCal’s services include case management and advocacy in 16 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, and refugee services. 

 

Contact: Zoha Karmali

Title: Director of Marketing and Communications 

Organization: Access California Services

Phone: (714) 917-0440

Email: zoha@accesscal.org

Web: www.accesscal.org

ACCESS CALIFORNIA SERVICES’ ANNUAL PEACE OF MIND CONFERENCE HELPED REDUCE THE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH IN THE MUSLIM AND MIDDLE EASTERN COMMUNITIES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

Speakers at the 3rd Annual Family Wellness event discussed dealing with trauma and hardship, parenting special needs, and prevalence of drug use among the youth in the Muslim and Middle Eastern communities.

 

[Anaheim, California, October 16, 2020] — Access California Services (AccessCal) hosted its 3rd Annual Peace of Mind Conference virtually on Sunday, September 27, 2020, and Sunday, October 4, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PST. This event aimed to reduce the stigma of mental illness and promote access to mental health resources to the residents of Orange County including the local underserved, immigrant, and refugee communities. The conference was chaired by Dr. Marwa Azab, PhD Neuroscience and MA Counseling Psychology and moderated by AccessCal’s Mental Health Advisor, Sheikh Yassir Fazaga and Head of the Mental Health Department, Sara Bejaoui. Over 350 attendees from the underserved Middle Eastern, Muslim, immigrant, and refugee communities in Southern California virtually attended the event.

 

The exciting line-up of speakers included Dr. Azab, Sheikh Fazaga, Dr. Clayton Chau – Agency Director of the Orange County Health Care Agency and the County Health Officer, Dr. Halim Naeem – PhD Counseling Psychology, Psychotherapist, and President of Muslim Mental Health, Dr. Osman Umarji – PhD Educational Psychology, Director of Survey Research and Evaluation for Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Studies, and Sheikh Suhaib Webb – Founder of SWISS – Focusing on Developing Islamic Literacy, Resident Scholar at the Islamic Center at NYU, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU. They addressed topics such as prevalence of drug use in the community, trauma and hardship, and parenting special needs. Celebrity Comedians, Maysoon Zayid and Amer Zahr, brought fun and laughter at the end of each session.  

 

The first session of the conference covered dealing with trauma and hardship and parenting special needs. Founder and Executive Director of AccessCal, Nahla Kayali, noted in her welcoming remarks, “The Peace of Mind Conference is very dear to my heart. Mental health is such an important topic we must engage.” Dr. Chau reiterated the importance of addressing the stigma associated with mental health. He stated, “We must engage community leaders, religious leaders, healers in the community, families as well as youngsters in this conversation of whole person well-being, particularly the mental and emotional well-being of the community.” On trauma and hardship, Conference Chair Dr. Azab pointed out, “I don’t think psychological trauma is a disorder. The brain is too smart for that. The brain does not become disordered; it reorders in light of new information.” Dr. Umarji spoke on parenting special needs, referencing his own experience as a special needs parent. He highlighted, “I know it’s difficult. Every day is a challenge as a parent, whether you have autism, Down syndrome, the child is blind, whatever it might be, it is difficult. What gives me comfort is I don’t worry about his afterlife.” Celebrity Comedian Maysoon Zayid, who was born with cerebral palsy, shared how her father got her to walk when she was a child. With a note of humor, she said, “I was born before the Americans with Disabilities Act. My father was determined to teach me how to walk. He had a mantra. His mantra was, you can do it, yes you can, can.” 

 

The second session of the conference entailed a youth-centered discussion on the prevalence and risk of drug use in the Muslim and Middle Eastern communities. When speaking on the prevalence of drug use, Dr. Naeem stated, “You show me somebody who has chosen that path or lifestyle, I will show you someone who has a significant void in life. You can be from a good family and have a void. That’s what a lot of good families don’t get. You can treat your son and daughter perfectly, and they can still have a void.” AccessCal’s Mental Health Advisor, who spoke of the risks, noted, “The worst type of dependence is emotional dependency. That is when you are constantly waiting for something to make you feel better. You have surrendered so much power to that thing. You lose your freedom when you do something like this.” On the stigma associated with drug use, Sheikh Webb noted, “Parents wait too long to get help. There’s a lot of stigma attached to this.” He further advised parents, “Checking in with your children, not in a formalized way, but having a real relationship with them. Spending time with them. Doing what they like to do together. Hanging out with them as much as you can. That starts very young.” At the end of this discussion, participants were treated to a delightful session of comedy by Celebrity Comedian Amer Zahr.

 

AccessCal’s 3rd Annual Peace of Mind Conference received praise and acknowledgement from the attendees, speakers, celebrities, sponsors, and endorsers. Bhuvana Rao, Program Manager at the Orange County Health Care Agency, stated, “You are doing an amazing service for the community. The conference was very thought provoking and addressed the important topic of the impact of religion on mental health care and accessing services. Your work will leave a strong legacy.”  One of the attendees shared, “I am so impressed with the vast topics that your team covered. It was so comforting to hear from different perspectives that actively recognize multiple sides of the story and not just one narrative of this is what it is and who gets affected. I am so happy to know that there are several individuals who are of help to myself and others in the community.” Participants have also started reaching out to AccessCal’s mental health department for support and resources.

 

The Family Wellness event was funded by the Orange County Health Care Agency and sponsored by Hoag Hospital, CalOptima, Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation, and Olive Community Services. It was endorsed by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA), OMID Multicultural Institute for Development, Islamic Center of Irvine, Islamic Institute of Orange County (IIOC), Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF), Muslim American Society (MAS) Greater Los Angeles, CAIR- California, Shia Muslim Council of Southern California, Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOC), Bayan Islamic Graduate School, International Collegiate Health Initiative (ICHI), Olive Community Services, Uplift Charity, Sabil USA, Refugee Forum of Orange County (RFOC), and Latino Muslim Unity (LMU).


To view the two sessions of the conference, check out AccessCal’s
YouTube channel. For more information on the event, view our Peace of Mind conference website.  

 

About Access California Services

Access California Services (AccessCal) is a 22-year-old, culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization. AccessCal provides wrap-around health and human services to all underserved communities with a focus on Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants. However, the AccessCal principle is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race or ethnicity. AccessCal’s services include case management and advocacy in 16 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, and refugee services.

 

Contact: Zoha Karmali

Title: Director of Marketing and Communications

Organization: Access California Services

Phone: (714) 917-0440

Email: zoha@accesscal.org

Web: www.accesscal.org

 

 

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ACCESS CALIFORNIA SERVICES WELCOMES ITS FOURTH DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVE

The Immigration Department at Access California Services now boasts four Department of Justice accredited representatives.

 

 

[Anaheim, California, October 16, 2020] Rania Humidan, Hadia Barazi, and Lina Kayali were the first three team members of Access California Services (AccessCal) to receive accreditation under the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Recognition and Accreditation (R&A) Program. Diana Luna joined in their footsteps having received her DOJ accreditation this month. Diana first started working for AccessCal in September 2018 as an AmeriCorps member. She supported the immigration team, helping them prepare citizenship applications. Diana also started leading the citizenship classes. After many hours of training and supervision, Diana received her DOJ accreditation. The DOJ’s R&A program enables low income and indigent people have access to immigration legal representatives from recognized organizations. AccessCal was certified by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2007.  

 

To receive the DOJ accreditation, AccessCal’s team members need to undergo several hours of training, take legal courses, and show proof of having supported clients with immigration services. Additionally, they need to have experience in immigration law, practices and procedures, and have a good moral standing. AccessCal’s DOJ accredited representatives are supervised by renowned immigration attorney, Mr. Akram Abusharar of Abusharar & Associates Immigration Law Firm. Mr. Abusharar acknowledged the hard work and dedication of AccessCal’s Immigration Department. He said, “AccessCal’s staff have been doing amazing work for immigrants. As an immigration lawyer, I have been advising AccessCal’s staff who have received their accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals. The four staff members are very critical because of their expanded knowledge that they gain every day in consultation with me and the legal courses they have taken virtually or in person with immigration services.”

 

AccessCal’s immigration department offers a range of services to the underserved community, including immigrants and refugees, in Southern California. This includes family-based petitions, fiancé(e) visas, National Visa Center (NVC) processing, naturalization and citizenship preparation, including certificate of citizenship, petition to remove conditions, petition for relative of asylees and refugees, and replacement/initial nonimmigrant arrival-departure document. Additionally, daily citizenship classes are offered that prepare the attendees for their citizenship exam. “At AccessCal, we believe that every member of the community needs to be a law-abiding and contributing citizen of the country. America is a land of immigrants.  Our immigration department assists refugees and immigrants gain sound legal standing, so they can participate in civic engagement and access health and human services,” said AccessCal’s Founder and Executive Director, Nahla Kayali.

 

About Access California Services

Access California Services (AccessCal) is a 22-year-old, culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization. AccessCal provides wrap-around health and human services to all underserved communities with a focus on Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants. However, the AccessCal principle is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race or ethnicity. AccessCal’s services include case management and advocacy in 16 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, and refugee services.

 

Contact: Zoha Karmali

Title: Director of Marketing and Communications

Phone: (714) 917-0440

Email: zoha@accesscal.org

Web: www.accesscal.org

 

WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY 2020

Recognizing the #RealLifeHeroes at Access California Services

(California, August 19, 2020) World Humanitarian Day recognizes individuals globally who against all odds serve people in need. This day is a call to action to celebrate aid workers who have persevered and dedicated their lives to helping others. This year’s World Humanitarian Day celebrates real-life heroes who served their community on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. This health crisis has been particularly challenging for humanitarians who had to deal with a lack of resources while attending to an increased need from communities.

Access California Services (AccessCal) witnessed a 50% increase in clients. When the pandemic hit California, the board members, staff, and volunteers stood by the Founder and Executive Director, Nahla Kayali, in the decision to keep the doors of the organization open. The team at AccessCal believed this was their time to reaffirm their commitment to serve humanity.

Since March 2020, AccessCal has supported over 5,000 underserved community members with health coverage access, and services in mental health, employment, financial assistance, and immigration, among other direct services. Clients were helped with their health coverage applications, unemployment claims as well as rental aid and food vouchers. Youth and children were supported with their education. Check-ins were made on senior citizens, and all immigration queries were addressed. Additionally, the organization hosted a drive-through food distribution that provided immediate food security to close to 2,500 individuals. On the Muslim holiday of Eid-Al-Fitr, 300 children received new toys during a two-day drive-through distribution. On World Refugee Day, in collaboration with the Refugee Forum of Orange County, AccessCal held a drive-through celebratory engagement to recognize the achievements of refugee clients.

When AccessCal was established 22 years ago, Founder and Executive Director Nahla Kayali, never envisioned her team standing with her to serve individuals and families during a global pandemic. “It has been such a humbling and heartwarming experience to see the entire team at AccessCal, including the board members, staff and volunteers, join me to serve the underserved community in southern California during this health crisis. They are my real-life heroes. They are true humanitarians. I am thankful to each of them for standing with me to help preserve people’s lives during this pandemic.”

This World Humanitarian Day would feel incomplete if the real-life heroes at AccessCal were not recognized. Under extreme circumstances, the team at AccessCal persevered and dedicated themselves to helping those in need.

About Access California Services

With services delivered in 16 different languages such as health coverage access, mental health services, client advocacy, employment services, educational enrichment, financial assistance and much more – AccessCal is a culturally sensitive community-based organization dedicated to empowering all underserved populations in southern California. Through direct health and human services, we strive to enhance quality of life and foster self-determination. To learn more, visit www.accesscal.org.

Access California Services Partners with Islamic Relief USA to Provide Essential Financial Assistance to Families Battling Poverty in Southern California

Anaheim, Calif. – March 19, 2018 – Access California Services (AccessCal) is partnering with Islamic Relief USA to provide the Emergency Financial Assistance and Case Management/Zakat Program to underserved, low-income individuals and families including immigrants and refugees. This program helps ease urgent financial hardships facing many Southern Californian residents, while also empowering them to gain self-sufficiency.

AccessCal and Islamic Relief USA are responding to a critical need within the community. Orange County’s poverty rate is 24.3%, which near doubles the federal rate of 12.8%. Underserved families, especially refugee families, are struggling to find sufficient employment to cover their basic needs and expenses, including food, shelter, and utilities.

The Emergency Financial Assistance/Zakat Program not only provides financial ease but also specialized case management to ensure individuals and families have the opportunity to lead secure and healthy lives. The AccessCal team works with each qualified individual or family to determine barriers and explore pathways to employment while also promoting personal responsibility.

“The Emergency Financial Assistance and Case Management/Zakat Program goes beyond simply providing a Band-Aid solution,” said Access California Services Founder and Executive Director Nahla Kayali. “We work closely with each individual or family, linking them to a range of services that are specific to their needs and available on-site, including employment, health access, and mental health, so that they may begin the steps that are needed to attain self-determination.”

With Islamic Relief USA support, eligible individuals and families may receive financial assistance for rent assistance; emergency medical expenses, emergency transportation expenses, vocational training expenses, food, and legal assistance expenses for immigration challenges.

“By taking a holistic approach with this program, we can ensure the underserved members of our community are armed with the tools they need to lead an enriched life,” said Kayali. “AccessCal is honored to partner with Islamic Relief USA and commend their commitment and support of this program.”

“This program will enable people of limited means to gain access to an array of services that AccessCal provides, helping them get on a path to independence,” said Islamic Relief USA President Anwar Khan. “It is vital that we help those who are in some of the most vulnerable positions and provide them with assistance in the short term and that help them have promising futures in the long run. Nobody deserves to live in the dark, go hungry, or not have access to skills training to achieve gainful employment.”

For more information, please visit the Access California Services website via www.accesscal.org or call (714) 917-0440.

About Access California Services

Founded in 1998, Access California Services (AccessCal) is a culturally sensitive community-based organization dedicated to empowering underserved populations, with a focus on the local Arab-American and Muslim-American communities. AccessCal aims to enhance quality of life and foster self-determination through direct and indirect advocacy, health, and human services to anyone who needs support in the community. Providing more than 50,000 units of services annually to community members and families in Southern California, AccessCal has become the go-to resource center for many seeking support with linguistic, economic, community, and civic integration. For more information, visit www.accesscal.org.

About Islamic Relief USA

Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States. Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

 

ACCESSCAL ANNUAL GALA SET TO ‘HELP REFUGEES THRIVE’

Community and Civil Rights Activist Linda Sarsour to Deliver Gala Keynote

ANAHEIM, Calif. (January 1, 2016) – Access California Services (AccessCal), a health and human services nonprofit organization that supports 10,000 underserved refugees and immigrants annually, will hold its annual gala to raise funds for programs and operations that empower, train and support in-need immigrant and refugee families in southern California. The gala will be held at the Hilton Anaheim on Saturday, February 6, 2016. Registration begins at 5:00 p.m.

“Refugees are forced to flee their countries and many linger in refugee camps for years with uncertainty, lack of basic needs, and many lost dreams,” said AccessCal Founder and Executive Director Nahla Kayali. “When refugees resettle in the United States, they face even more challenges, including language, economic and cultural barriers they never imagined they would face, and that is why AccessCal is here: To integrate, empower and provide them access to resources that help them become contributing and successful citizens.”

Linda Sarsour, a Community and Civil Rights Activist and the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) will deliver the AccessCal gala keynote speech. Sarsour speaks on the significance of social services catering to less represented communities. Her presence at our gala demonstrates the incredible value and meaning of our work. Her “Ferguson Protests Remain After Night of Violence” is Sarsour’s interview with Al Jazeera America.

During the gala, AccessCal will honor three community leaders who have dedicated their lives to human services. Honorees are:

  • • Extraordinary Impact Award
  • • Fiza Shah, Chief Executive Officer, Developments in Literacy (DIL)
  • • Public Service Achievement Award
  • • Mahboob Akhter, Board Member, 2-1-1 Orange County
  • • Unsung Hero Award
  • • Lamis Hashem, Dedicated Community Supporter

AccessCal provides support to individuals and families, 85 percent of whom arrive from Arab and Muslim countries. Over 30 percent of AccessCal support is dedicated to refugees through various programs, including a Refugee Social Services program and a Refugee Health Assessment program.

The gala will include a silent auction, a dinner, an awards ceremony, a keynote speech, and entertainment featuring Folkloric Dabke Group. Watch the gala 2016 teaser. Individual tickets are sold for $100 and may be purchased online at https://www.accesscal.org/gala-2016/. Opportunities for gala sponsorship are also available.

About Access California Services

Founded in 1989, Access California Services (AccessCal) is a culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization, which provides social and economic services to local Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants; however, AccessCal is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. In 2015, AccessCal served over 9,000 community members, providing over $40,000 units of service. Services include: Vocational English training, case management and advocacy in 16 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, refugee services, and refugee health assessments.

ACCESSCAL TO STIMULATE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, GIVE BACK TO ANAHEIM FOR 11TH ANNUAL NATIONAL ARAB AMERICAN SERVICE DAY

Local volunteers from diverse backgrounds to give back through a neighborhood park beautification project

ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 11, 2015) – Approximately 60 local residents will join more than 2000 volunteers across 10 states on Saturday, May 16 as volunteers for the 11th Annual National Arab American Service Day (NAASD). Hosted by Access California Services (AccessCal), in partnership with the city of Anaheim Community Services Department Parks Division and Neighborhood Services, volunteers will help beautify Palm Lane Park in Anaheim.

WHO: AccessCal, an Anaheim-based nonprofit providing health and human services to over 11,000 Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees and immigrants annually Little Arabia District The AccessCal Arab Youth Collective Network for Arab American Professionals Orange County, NAAPOC Representatives from the city of Anaheim Local community members

WHAT: To help stimulate community and civic engagement among communities, volunteers will join efforts to beautify a local park by sanding and painting bleachers and trash can barrels, mulching a playground and trees, and conducting a trash pickup.

WHERE: Palm Lane Park, 1595 West Palais Road in Anaheim

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

WHY: The 11th Annual National Arab American Service Day (NAASD) is about fostering a culture of leadership and community engagement through service and volunteerism. Under its motto, “Serving Communities, Connecting People,” NAASD brings together diverse groups and individuals for one shared goal: Responding creatively to their community’s needs. A project of the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), NAASD has engaged more than 9,000 volunteers and provided over 36,000 hours of service to improve communities across the nation.

HOW: For more information or to register to volunteer, please call AccessCal at 714-917-0440.

About Access California Services

Founded in 1998, Access California Services (AccessCal) is a culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization, which provides social and economic services to local Arab- and MuslimAmericans, refugees, and immigrants; however, AccessCal is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. In 2014, AccessCal served over 11,000 community members, providing close to 30,000 units of service. Services include: Vocational English training, case management and advocacy in 16 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, refugee services, and refugee health assessments.

About National Arab American Service Day (NAASD)

National Arab American Service Day (NAASD), a project of the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), brings together thousands of volunteers from acrpss the country to give back to their communities through service. Since 2005, NAASD has fostered a culture of leadership and community engagement through volunteerism and by building bridges with our diverse neighbors. Over the past decade, a total of more than 9,000 volunteers have provided over 36,000 hours of service to improve their communities. With the moto “Serving Communities, Connecting People,” NAASD is truly representative of the Arab American community and the commitment to giving back.

ACCESSCAL DETERMINED TO GETTING NEW AMERICANS HIRED

Through Its Annual Job Fair, AccessCal Helps Link Local Employers to Diverse, Skilled Talent

ANAHEIM, Calif. (April 7, 2015) – Access California Services (AccessCal), a health and human services nonprofit organization that annually supports over 11,000 underserved New Americans, including recent refugees and immigrants, will hold its annual job fair at its facility located at 631 S. Brookhurst St., Suite 107 in Anaheim on Friday, April 24, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

“The AccessCal annual job fair is not just about helping refugee and immigrant community members secure jobs,” said AccessCal Founder and Executive Director Nahla Kayali. “This event ensures local cities and the county have another opportunity to become more welcoming to newcomers because it creates a positive means for engagement, and it links local employers with diverse and qualified talent. This generates greater integration and more contributions to this recovering economy and welcoming nation.”

Participating employers include: Anaheim Family YMCA, Ansar Gallery, Goodwill of Orange County, Hilton Worldwide, Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Mom 365, Orange County Conservation Corps, Pure Aqua, Inc., Resource Employment, and Richard Heath and Associates, Inc.

AccessCal offers community members employment support throughout the year with its employment coordinators who provide job search workshops, job training referrals, career counseling, resume building, mock interviewing, and access to a resource center equipped with computers, photocopiers, fax machines, and telephones.

About Access California Services

Founded in 1998, Access California Services (AccessCal) is a culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization, which provides social and economic services to local Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants; however, AccessCal is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. In 2014, AccessCal served over 11,000 community members, providing close to 30,000 units of service. Services include: Vocational English training, case management and advocacy in 16 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, refugee services, and refugee health assessments.

ACCESSCAL ANNUAL GALA SET TO ‘HELP REFUGEES THRIVE’

United Nations Refugee Agency Worldwide Communications and Spokesperson Melissa Fleming to Deliver Gala Keynote

ANAHEIM, Calif. (January 13, 2015) – Access California Services (AccessCal), a health and human services nonprofit organization that supports over 10,000 underserved Arab- and MuslimAmericans, refugees and immigrants annually, will hold its annual gala to raise funds for programs and operations that empower, train and support in-need immigrant and refugee families in southern California. The gala will be held at the Hilton Anaheim on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. Registration begins at 5 p.m.

“Refugees are forced to flee their countries and many linger in refugee camps for years with uncertainty, lack of basic needs, and many lost dreams,” said AccessCal Founder and Executive Director Nahla Kayali. “When refugees resettle in the United States, they face even more challenges, including language, economic and cultural barriers they never imagined they would face, and that is why AccessCal is here: To integrate, empower and provide them access to resources that help them become contributing and successful citizens.”

Melissa Fleming, the Chief Communications and Spokesperson at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), will deliver the AccessCal gala keynote speech. Fleming speaks on behalf of the millions of displaced and uprooted refugees internationally. “Lets Help Refugees Thrive Not Just Survive” is Fleming’s recently featured TED Talk.

During the gala, AccessCal will honor three community leaders who have dedicated their lives to human services. Honorees are:

  • • Musa Y. Nasir, M.D., Co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF)
  • • Adnan Khan, President, The Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPAA)
  • • Hisham Seify, M.D., Ph.D., President, Board of Directors Egypt Cancer Network 57357

AccessCal provides support to individuals and families, 95 percent of whom arrive from Arab and Muslim countries. Over 60 percent of AccessCal support is dedicated to refugees through various programs, including a Refugee Social Services program and a Refugee Health Assessment program.

The gala will include a silent auction, a dinner, an awards ceremony, a keynote speech, and entertainment featuring comedian and TV personality Tehran Von Ghasri. Watch the gala 2015 teaser. Individual tickets are sold for $100 and may be purchased online at www.accesscal.org/gala-2015. Opportunities for gala sponsorship are also available.

About Access California Services

Founded in 1989, Access California Services (AccessCal) is a culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization, which provides social and economic services to local Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants; however, AccessCal is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. In 2014, AccessCal served over 10,000 community members, providing over 20,000 units of service. Services include: Vocational English training, case management and advocacy in 13 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, refugee services, and refugee health assessments.

ACCESSCAL CONTRACTED BY COUNTY OF ORANGE HEALTH CARE AGENCY TO PROVIDE REFUGEE HEALTH SERVICES

Hundreds of Newly Arrived Entrants to Receive Health, Mental Health Assessments at AccessCal

Anaheim, Calif. (November 5, 2014) – Access California Services (AccessCal), a health and human services nonprofit organization that supports underserved Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants in southern California, has been awarded a one-year contract from the County of Orange Health Care Agency to provide comprehensive, mandatory health assessments to hundreds of entrants who reside in Orange County. Entrants include refugees, asylees, secondary migrants, special immigrant visa holders, Cuban and Haitian entrants, and federally-certified victims of trafficking. The contract may be extended for an additional two years subject to an annual approval by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Health assessments ensure that entrant health is examined and that entrants receive referrals and linkages to any needed healthcare services. Assessments also help eliminate health-related barriers to successful resettlement while protecting the health of the populations living in the United States.

AccessCal will provide the health assessments through a subcontract with neighboring healthcare clinic OC Urgent Care Clinic, located at 631 S. Brookhurst St., Ste 101 in Anaheim. Mental health assessments will be provided by AccessCal located in Suite 107.

“We are thrilled to have been selected to administer the refugee health assessment contract,” said AccessCal Founder and Executive Director Nahla Kayali. “Refugees and immigrants, who are fortunate enough to resettle in the U.S., unfortunately deal with many social and psychological barriers that prevent them from trusting government authority. Because AccessCal is a community-based organization with employees who speak the languages and understand the cultures of the newly arrived entrants, we become a trusted resource with staff members refugees can identify with and organizational services from which refugees will benefit greatly.”

The entrants who are eligible to receive the health assessment will be referred to AccessCal from local resettlement agencies including International Rescue Committee, Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service (IRIS), World Relief, East African Community of Orange County, and Crittenton Services for Children and Families.

Refugees and other entrants seeking social and economic resources may take advantage of additional services AccessCal provides including case management, citizenship and immigration services, employment services, emergency financial assistance, Vocational English-as-a-Second Language (VESL) courses and other educational services that help new arrivals integrate, build knowledge and skills, and learn new social norms and systems.

About Access California Services

Access California Services (AccessCal) is a culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization, which provides social and economic services to local Arab- and Muslim-Americans, refugees, and immigrants; however, AccessCal is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. This year, AccessCal has served over 10,000 community members. Services include: Case management and advocacy in 13 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, refugee services, and refugee health assessments.

 

Sept. 25, 2014

Contact: Linda Sarsour, National Advocacy Director, 917.306.3323, lsarsour@accesscommunity.org

National Arab American groups join forces to register voters in communities across US

DEARBORN, Mich. – The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a project of ACCESS, along with the Network for Arab American Professionals (NAAP); the Arab American Institute (AAI), and the American-Arab AntiDiscrimination Committee (ADC), have joined forces to launch a National Arab American Voter Registration Day this Friday, September 26, on the heels of the National Voter Registration Day which took place earlier this week.

This national day of action will serve to help register voters and raise awareness around the significance of civic participation for Arab Americans. The message the groups will promote is that voting can be used as a tool to change the policies that directly impact them, including unwarranted surveillance by federal and local law enforcement and lack of access to culturally and linguistically competent social services. Arab Americans will also take to Twitter on Friday, using the hashtag #MyArabAmVote to share experiences and issues that motivate them to get out and vote.

“We have worked for years to build the political power of the Arab American community, and this year is no different. Participation in the democratic process is one way to change the status of our community and address civil rights concerns that impact Arab Americans,” said Nadia Tonova, Director of the National Network for Arab American Communities.

“Voting is the basic building block of democracy. Proper representation is next to impossible without it, which is why it is necessary for us to not only engage our communities on getting registered and getting out the vote, but also to preserve the voting rights they are entitled to, “ said Samer Khalaf, President, American-Arab AntiDiscrimination Committee.

“With high concentrations of Arab Americans living in some of the largest and most politically contested states, we know our community can make a difference this November as states elect governors, Congressional representatives and countless local officials,” says Executive Director of the Arab American Institute Maya Berry. “Arab Americans are at the forefront of the national conversation on voting rights – whether through our ‘Yalla Vote’ initiative, which was at university campuses across the country this week, or our online resources for voters and efforts to combat restrictive voter identification laws.”

Ensuring our community is registered and mobilized to vote for elections is the starting point for influencing how politicians interact with us locally – the first question always asked by your politician is “Does your community vote? How many votes do you have?” said Sarab Al-Jijakli, President, Network for Arab American Professionals.

“As someone who has lived in New York for more than 40 years, I have seen firsthand the progress that has been made in the Arab American community. I attribute that to the increased participation and sophistication in the democratic process. We will continue to grow and build our power, and this national day of action is one way to do that,” said Dr. Ahmad Jaber, President, at the Arab American Association of New York.

“Arab-Americans need to use all the tools available to us to empower ourselves and better our community’s condition in the U.S. We should register to vote and try to make a difference in the electoral process, but also know that real change in this country has only been made with community organizing and by challenging power directly,” said Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director, Arab American Action Network in Chicago, Il.

“When we, Arab Americans in Florida, do vote, we may not be heard right away. Building power takes persistency and consistency, and we are committed to doing just that. It is impossible to be heard at all when we are doing nothing and when we are not voting. We will continue to register voters and educate community members through candidate forums because we are in this for the long-term,” said Rasha Mubarak, leader at the Arab American Community Center of Florida.

“Today it is more important than ever for our community to engage in the democratic process by registering to vote. Arab Americans have a lot at stake, and we cannot afford to be absent at the polls otherwise our voices will not be heard,” said Lena Alhusseini, Executive Director at the Arab American Family Support Center in Brooklyn, NY.

“Our mission at AccessCal is to encourage members of our community to become contributing citizens,” said Nahla Kayali, founder and executive director of Access California Services.

“Before we voice our opinions about social and political issues in the system, we need to practice our rights as citizens and vote. It’s how our community’s voice can be heard; It’s how our kids will receive a better education, gain access to quality healthcare, and enrich the fabric of our diverse country. “National Arab American Voter Registration Day reminds us that the Arab American community in Flint, Michigan is connected to a larger national community. We look forward to building power across cities and empowering Arab Americans,” said Mona Sahouri, Executive Director of the Arab American Heritage Council.

“Voter registration is a critical component to being an American. At Arab American Family Services we work with immigrants towards fulfilling their ultimate goal of citizenship and educate them of about their duty to be civically engaged. We are proud to participate in the National Arab American Voter Registration Day,” said Itedal Shalabi, Executive Director of the Arab American Family Services in Bridgeview, Illinois.

 

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a project of ACCESS, is a national consortium of independent Arab American community-based organizations. Our mission is the development of Arab American community-based nonprofit organizations that understand, meet the needs, and represent the concerns of Arab Americans at a local level, while also collectively addressing those issues at a national level.

ACCESSCAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RECIEVES 2014 CAL WELLNESS SABBATICAL PROGRAM AWARD

Nahla Kayali Among Seven Executives Statewide to Receive Grant to Cover Paid Time Off

Anaheim, Calif. (September 9, 2014) – Nahla Kayali, founder and executive director of Access California Services (AccessCal), a nonprofit organization that supports Arab- and MuslimAmericans, refugees and immigrants in Southern California, received The California Wellness Foundation Sabbatical Program Award. The award recognizes executives’ dedication to their communities and grants $35,000 to cover each executive director’s salary and other expenses during a minimum three-month sabbatical.

“When I launched AccessCal 15 years ago with a set of folding chairs and tables, I never imagined that I’d ever receive such an esteemed sabbatical one day,” Kayali said. “I am eager to use this precious time off to revitalize myself and refocus my priorities for the organization to better help enrich the lives of those in our local immigrant and refugee community. I am certain that we have built a sturdy leadership team who will unquestionably hold down the fort during my temporary absence.”

The California Wellness Foundation Sabbatical Program Award was created to improve the longterm effectiveness of health-focused nonprofits by providing their executives with the rest they need to continue to direct their organizations’ missions. The California Wellness Foundation is a private, independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.

Kayali and six other nonprofit executives were recognized with The California Wellness Foundation Sabbatical Program Award at a luncheon in Los Angeles today.

About Access California Services

Access California Services (AccessCal) is a culturally and linguistically sensitive health and human services nonprofit organization. It provides economic and social services to local Arab- and MuslimAmericans, refugees and immigrants; however, the AccessCal principle is nonsectarian. Anyone who needs support in the community will receive it regardless of race or ethnicity. AccessCal services include: Case management and advocacy in 13 languages, citizenship and immigration services, employment and tax services, emergency financial assistance, educational services, healthcare access services, counseling and support, community service and civic engagement, and refugee services.