This message comes from Sabyne Denaud, IINE’s Community Services Manager in Lowell. She shared this story as part of our All Together campaign, made possible by a generous $15k match offer from a family foundation and friend of IINE. This month, they will match every donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to
$15,000 $30,000. You can help us reach our goal by donating at iine.org/match-campaign.
Like my colleagues, I’ve been working from home since the beginning of April. It’s been an adjustment for my husband and me, since both us are now working remotely. He’s an engineer and works from our family room while I’ve moved from the living room to the porch since the weather turned nice. It really helps that my mom lives with us and can watch our two young kids. I think about many of our clients who don’t have these benefits – to work from home and have in-house childcare.
I remember these thoughts being on my mind the morning of May 29th, when an urgent email landed in my inbox – it was from a lawyer, reaching out to IINE on behalf of a client, a woman from East Africa who was recently granted asylum. The lawyer wrote that this woman had contracted COVID-19, lost her job as a Certified Nursing Assistant, and needed help. I picked up the phone immediately.
I can’t tell you the woman’s name, but over the course of that first two-hour conversation I learned that she is warm and kind, and prefers to focus on the opportunities ahead instead of the challenges behind her. We got her enrolled in our case management services, helped her access public benefits, and also provided her with emergency cash assistance from IINE’s own fundraising to cover food and rent. One of our services is helping people navigate the healthcare system, and we made sure she had the information she needed.
Two months later, like many COVID-19 patients, she has recovered from the virus but is not as strong as she once was. Her doctor cleared her to work but prohibited her from doing much heavy lifting, a requirement for someone who works as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
She began looking for a new job, and recently told me during one of our weekly calls that she found a part-time position delivering food, a step forward that we celebrated together. She also has shared that she deeply misses her kids, who are approved to come to the US from their home country but can’t travel because of the pandemic. As a mom, I can’t imagine being separated from my children, especially right now.
I look forward to continuing to connect with and support this woman as she continues in our case management services. Often at the end of our calls, she shares how she appreciates our conversations and trusts me, and therefore trusts IINE, to help.
I know I could not do my work without the collaboration of my colleagues and our broader community of supporters, including friends like you!