At the Four Rivers Welcome Center in Ontario on Monday, people from Iraqi, Mexican, African, and European heritage sit on the floor building colorful, whimsical bookshelves. They are preparing for a literacy event for young children who are either refugees themselves or born in the United States to refugee parents. The year-old Welcome Center, sponsored by the Four Rivers Free Clinic, serves as an Eastern Oregon satellite office for IRCO.
Along with the bookcases, children who attend the event will receive books in Somali and English, as well as blank books in which to write their own stories. Parents will receive a demonstration on how to read with young children.
To learn more about the refugee community in Oregon, listen to our interview with Abdikadir Bashir Mohamud, executive director at the Center for African Immigrants and Refugees of Oregon.