Directory of Social Services   (Click to Watch Video #2)

The African Center has published a directory of social services for African newcomers as a practical guide to living in United States. The guide is provided to clients free of charge to complement our literacy services. The directly is published in English with the first chapter translated into French and Ki-Swahili. The guide comes with an evaluation tool to ensure that clients fully utilize the resource book.

The 12 chapters in the directory

  1. Immigration, Refugees, Asylum

  2. Valid Identification

  3. Legal Matters

  4. Wellness and Relating to others

  5. Health and Safety

  6. Credit and Financial matters

  7. Public Housing

  8. Family and social services

  9. Transportation

  10. Education

  11. Passports, visas and embassies

  12. Recreation, shopping and religion

Welcome to America

The Chief Executive Officer of the African Center writes a personal message of welcome as the introduction to the directory of social services.

Congratulations for deciding to get a copy of this valuable guide. It is produced principally for you in mind, because the people in our community who put this guide together were, at one time or another, at the point where you are now – a newcomer anxious to understand his/her new environment. It is hopefully a guide that you will find very useful and handy. I believe in using it you will also meet the needs of other Africans by sharing the information it provides with those who may not have the opportunity to get a copy.

The guide is prepared for you because we know you are one of our own. We share the same culture and our ways of life, thinking and living; our views of our worlds are the same. Together we uphold the dignity of our nations – in Africa – trusting that we can transform our hope of better tomorrow into reality. We both recognize that our continent will rise again to play its rightful role in the world.

I know you. That is why I take this wonderful opportunity to welcome you into our community and make you feel comfortable. You are the

fruit and the symbol of the continent where God first gave life to humanity. You are here for a purpose. You have traveled over hundreds of miles, crossed several seas, flown over mountains and valleys just because you wanted to. Back home, you were familiar with and lived with hot and very hot weather. You know very much about heavy rain. You know about gusty winds. But you may not be familiar with chilly and freezing temperatures that may make you feel like hundreds of needles are piercing through your entire body at the same time! At this initial stage, you may find some behaviors, attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, practices and ways of life somehow different from where you came from. You will experience some conflicts. You will see new things – some exciting, some strange.

Everywhere you go your accent, just like mine, will give you up as African. The way you talk and sometimes the way you dress and your mannerism may draw some people to you, distract some people or even make some people feel uncomfortable with you. Also you will miss your family back at home, yet here at the “African Center” you will find home away from home. With time, patience and wisdom, you will soon discover the true Hoosier hospitality. Part of this hospitality is the one that we provide at the “African Center” where we expect and demand that all Africans be treated with utmost dignity.

Personally, I expect you to always look deep within yourself to see the abundant resources that you are. These resources you will need to make yourself and others better. You may not achieve much if you rely solely on always taking from others without giving part of those wonderful resources that you brought with you. In this place, even your wonderful smile is valuable.

I will advice you to safeguard your travel documents especially your passport and I-94 card. Sooner or later you will need these documents. In this part of the world, hardworking is demanded; honesty and charity are expected. If anything sounds or looks too good to be true walk away from it. Here, quick fix or short cuts can be expensive in the long run. You may even encounter people offering to help you obtain some official documents without going through the due process or promising to help you get quick cash for some fees. Do not open your wallet so quick, because you may lose your money, lose your status and credibility and worst still, you may end up in jail. Lastly, I will encourage you to keep an open mind. A mind that filters through issues objectively. A mind that is quick to listen, steady to reason and stable to react.

If you need to ask questions, clarify information, have second opinion, confide in trusted people, please feel free to call the “African Center” at 317 927 9777 or just come visit us. We are one family and I look forward to hearing from you or meeting you in person. You are welcome.


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