Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services

The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) is a human services organization committed to the development of the Arab American community in all aspects of economic and cultural life. ACCESS helps low-income families, as well as newly arrived immigrants adapt to life in the United States. Its goal is to foster a greater understanding of Arab culture in the U.S. and in the Arab world. ACCESS provides a wide range of social, mental health, educational, artistic, employment, legal, and medical services, and is dedicated to empowering people to lead more informed, productive, and fulfilling lives.

History

ACCESS began operating out of a storefront at Dearborn’s south end in 1971. Staffed entirely by volunteers, ACCESS’ first board president was George Khoury, accompanied by Hajjah Aliya Hassan as the first volunteer director.

Without the help of The Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG), and its donation of the first months rent, the opening of ACCESS on Vernor Highway would not have been possible. In subsequent years, ACCESS moved to Hashemite Hall until it burnt down. In 1973, the building on Saulino Court was purchased by the Yemeni Benevolent Association, and generously offered to ACCESS free of charge, where the administrative offices still reside today.

ACCESS began to really take off in the mid-to-late 70s receiving many grants and awards. As things began to blossom, the center was hit by a devastating fire. This did not deter the staff and volunteers at ACCESS, who arrived to work the next morning an hour early to set up tents outside and continue helping those in need. With the help of the community and many volunteers, the building on Saulino Court was rebuilt.

ACCESS has grown tremendously over the years, from starting small and serving only hundreds, to now serving hundreds of thousands of those in need. The expansion of ACCESS has grown to five locations, including the Arab American National Museum (AANM), which was founded on May 5, 2005.

ocial Services

With two walk-in offices in Dearborn and one outreach office in Hamtramck, Social Services continues to assist the community at the grassroots level. ACCESS provides them with what they need to improve the quality of their lives. There is a broad range of services provided from finding jobs, immigration needs, to health services.

Services:
*Information & Referral -- Provide assistance with completion of forms from the Michigan Department of Human Services (welfare), Social Security Administration, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth (unemployment offices), utility companies, health systems, etc.)
*Advocacy (Provide assistance with government and private entities)
*Translation of Documents
*Interpretation
*Emergency Services Program (Rent/Mortgage Assistance and Utility Shut-off Prevention, THAW, Emergency Food Assistance)
*MI CAFE Programs -- Food Stamps Assistance Program targeting seniors
*Immigration Services (Family Reunification, National Visa Center Processing, Swear-in Ceremonies and other immigration services)
*Senior Services
*Legal Assistance

ACCESS also partners with many companies in Michigan to provide the best services they can.

Partnerships:
*Department of Human Services (DHS)
*City of Dearborn
*Social Security Administration
*United Way for Southeastern Michigan
*Wayne-Metropolitan Community Action Agency
*Legal Aid and Defender Association (LADA)
*Senior Alliance
*Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA)

Employment and training

The Employment & Training Department at ACCESS is a Certified Michigan Works One-Stop Employment Services Center. Each year the Employment and Training department holds six job fairs servicing 100 employers and drawing thousands of job seekers. We take pride in linking the right people with the right jobs, and our dedicated and qualified staff members are eager to assist people in achieving their fullest potential.

Key Programs and Services:

*Employment Service Program
*Workforce Investment Act – Adult, DLW, Youth and Special Populations Programs
*No Worker Left Behind Program
*Work First/JET Programs
*Specialized workshops to empower job seekers
*Self-Directed Resource Room with Internet Access
*Learning Lab – Assessments, Self-Paced Tutorials(Basic Skills, GED, ESL, Office Skills) And Computer Application Training
*A range of services to employers seeking a qualified and diverse workforce (recruitment, screening, consultations, mediation, job fairs, etc.)

Youth and education

Through numerous programs the Youth and Education Department provides learning experiences and activities for youth of all ages. Summer programs include a stronger academic preparedness component, in which learning in math and reading was fun for students. Each year through our Adult Literacy Program we are able to provide hundreds of predominantly non-native English speakers with courses in English as a Second Language (ESL). Educational and recreational services are offered through the following programs:

Academic Enrichment Programs

*21st Century Community Learning Centers (Lowrey Middle School and Salina Intermediate)

*After-school Homework Assistance

*Targeted Intervention Program

*Summer Academy (academic, enrichment, and recreational all-day program)

*Supplemental Education Services (offered to schools that qualify)

*Vendor Services (fee-based): Arabic, Spanish, Sports, Character Development, ESL

Family Literacy Program

*Adult Literacy (ESL)

*Interactive Parent and Child Activities

*Home Visits and Focused Case Management

*Parenting Education

*Citizenship Classes (in preparation for U.S. Citizenship Test)

Other Services

*Customized ESL training for employers (fee for service)

*Teen Dialogue Groups (in partnership with the University of Michigan)

*Interagency and Community-wide Referrals

*Educational and Advocacy Services

*Volunteerism/Professional Development Opportunities

National Outreach

The National Outreach Department houses the National Network for Arab-American Communities (NNAAC), which is a network of independent Arab-American community-based organizations. Formally launched in 2004, the network currently has 16 members in nine states. The network has two annual events and four standing programs: Advocacy; the Arab-American Resource Corps; the Collaborative for Arab-American Philanthropy; and Organizational Development.

AdvocacyThe network’s advocacy program focuses on immigration policy, civil rights and civil liberties, civic engagement and increased funding and support for human services.

Arab-American Resource CorpsThe Arab-American Resource Corps (ARC), a national AmeriCorps program, is the only program in the country engaging individuals in service in Arab-American communities. AmeriCorps is a federally funded national service program in which individuals commit to one year of service in their communities.

Collaborative for Arab-American PhilanthropyThe Collaborative for Arab-American Philanthropy aims to empower and strengthen the Arab-American community through outreach and education about strategic philanthropy. The program strives to support Arab-American giving in all of its diversity, whether specifically to Arab-American community organizations or other issues of concern to Arab-American donors.

Organizational DevelopmentThe Organizational Development program is designed to support the sustainability and growth of Arab-American community-based organizations. By providing technical assistance to strengthen organizations, the network ensures their long-term sustainability.

National Arab-American Service DayNational Arab-American Service Day is an annual community service project spearheaded by the Arab-American Resource Corp which takes place in 15 cities throughout the country. Its mission is to foster and encourage volunteerism and service among diverse communities; build bridges and connect people through the common experience of service; and highlight Arab-Americans’ commitment to serving their local communities.

"'Annual Conference"'The Annual Conference provides a forum where NNAAC member organizations meet and work with experts, advocates from partner coalitions, the funding community and Arab-American leaders. This unique conference brings together a diverse group of participants in order to discuss issues facing local communities and creates a forum in which important issues can be identified and addressed.

External links

*ACCESS http://www.accesscommunity.org
*Arab American National Museum http://www.arabamericanmuseum.org/


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