“Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” Using this proverb to reflect upon ECIRMAC, I can come to an easy conclusion: it must be one remarkable organization. Last Saturday, I attended and volunteered the refugee center’s Second Annual Fundraiser Dinner, and it was a fantastic experience. The dinner brought together supporters, staff members, past and current clients, and other friends of the organization. I spent most of the evening doing work wherever I and the other volunteers were needed. I sliced bread, filled water glasses, practiced rolling my r’s as I served Peruvian arroz con pollo, and helped to clean up as the night wound down. For these few hours of enjoyable work, I was able to meet great people from all over the world, eat delicious, homemade food, and watch live performances from various cultures. .At the end of the night, I felt that ECIRMAC had in fact done me a favor, letting me attend this wonderful event for free that cost everyone else $60 a plate.
Getting back to the proverbs, this event showed me much more than a good, multicultural time. Moreover, I was able to see firsthand the lasting social impact that the refugee center has had upon the community. The support that the center received from the dozens upon dozens of attendees was overwhelming – I had no idea that the tiny office that I worked in extended out to the hearts of so many people. Perhaps the most moving example came from a past client who had ECIRMAC to help him make some of his first steps as an American citizen. Now, many years later, he is happily enjoying life with his family and PhD. The people at ECIRMAC are truly changing the lives of many, helping people such as this man to have as good of start as possible at a new life within our community. Seeing the gratitude that he and others feel toward ECIRMAC made me proud to be giving some of my time to such as great place. To fully understand just how important this center is to the community, I simply needed to spend one evening with their friends.