Meet our AmeriCorps Members in Service


Zeena is a recent graduate from California State University, Sacramento with a degree in Nutrition and Food. Zeena lived in the Middle East, specifically Lebanon, when she was younger and her family is from there. Experiencing her culture first-hand was something that was priceless and something she’ll never forget! Zeena is passionate about working with those from different ethnic backgrounds because she enjoys experience and learning about different cultures.


Gabriela has an Associates degree in Arts at Palm Beach State College, and will pursue a bachelor degree majoring in International Relations and a minor in Politics and Human Rights, with high hopes of being able to continue her education at Marymount Manhattan College in New York. Gabriela speaks both English and Spanish and is from a Colombian household. She is the first generation of her family to be a citizen of the US. She served as Vice President in Student Government at Palm Beach State College, where she realized she loved being able to make a change in people’s lives through politics and nonprofit work. Her love toward helping others is never ending and she continuously strives to make others happy. She is excited to serve as an AmeriCorps Member at CWS Palm Beach.


Kiley is a recent James Madison University graduate where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Kiley’s other academic interests include statistics, communication, and humanitarian affairs. During her undergraduate experience, she travelled to Spain for a study abroad trip where she worked with a non-profit to create and apply for funding for humanitarian programs. Kiley also spent time interning at Church World Service prior to becoming an AmeriCorps member where she gave ESL lessons, helped provide childcare during classes and events, and helped to coordinate various classes. After completing her term of service, Kiley plans to attend law school.


Katherine Faulkner is the Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member for CWS- Greensboro. Though originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Katherine has called Greensboro her official home-base for the past ten years. She is a recent graduate of Arcadia University, where she majored in International Studies and focused her undergraduate thesis on the institutional and political complexities of resettling disabled refugees in the United States and Uganda. In the summer of 2016, Katherine had the privilege of interning with CWS- Greensboro, and it was that experience that made her realize her passions for both refugee resettlement and nonprofit work. Katherine is beyond thrilled


Zaina Ujayli is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University where she studied English with a focus in postcolonial studies. During university, she completed an undergraduate thesis on the changing representations of Muslim women and a research project on the struggles Third Culture kids encounter in American universities. The thesis placed first in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. As a Syrian American who grew up in Saudi Arabia, issues pertaining to refugees and immigration have always been important to her, which led Zaina to join CWS as an Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps member, working to help refugees with housing. In addition to academics, Zaina is also an avid writer, and her short stories have won Honorable Mentions and First Place in Writers of the Future and Parsec Ink contests. You can find Zaina in a local coffee shop Friday night writing or playing cards with friends.


Rachael, as of August, will be officially graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. She considers herself to be an advocate for cultural awareness and diversity which developed through her campus involvement. She served as the president of a Latina-based multicultural sorority, and worked in various programs through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Multicultural Center. In addition, she has a strong interest in supporting immigrant rights. She is looking forward to helping and being a part of the refugee experience through her work with AmeriCorps. Rachael enjoys traveling (Brazil and Cuba down, so many more to go!), dancing, working out, and learning about different cultures.


Christina currently lives in Lancaster, PA, where she was born. Previously, Christina lived in southern California for thirteen years – six years in Long Beach, CA and seven years in Palm Springs, CA. While in California, Christina worked in property management, mortgage, as a loan processor and had a real estate license and worked at ReMax and Coldwell Banker in Commercial Development and Commercial Leasing. Christina works part-time with adults with traumatic brain injury in residential care. Christina has always devoted herself to volunteer work. Currently, she volunteers with a local Domestic Violence Shelter, which provides shelter for both men and women of domestic violence, and a homeless shelter, often using her home as transitional living for individuals who can’t find permanent housing. Christina is pursuing her Master of Social Work at Millersville University. She loves to garden, take in stray animals and is thankful to have good health and strength. She has a son who lives in San Diego and a daughter who resides in Lancaster.


I am first and foremost a proud Muslim from South Florida (but I was born in Bangladesh). I am also a University of Richmond spider, Gates Millennium Scholar, an avid language learner who can speak 5 languages (more in progress), double majored in International Studies and Arabic, and lived two spirited years abroad in Jordan and Italy. As someone who has experienced multiculturalism in all its forms- the good, bad, and the ugly- immigrant and refugee issues are among my horde of passions. Refugee AmeriCorps is an important initiative needed to unite American communities to the disenfranchised people of the world regardless of their dissimilar backgrounds. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of a team that is working with these ever so relevant issues fresh out of college and I look forward to an enriching year of service with CWS. Aside from obtaining tension migraines over humanitarian issues, I enjoy brooding over the sure-to-be-complicated cultures of my future descendants and other hypertension inducing thoughts only a culture and language preservationist, environmentalist, and feminist can have. To combat such contemplations from hijacking my mental sanity, I like to concoct my own food and drink recipes, imitate Shakespeare, plant things, plot ways to get my cat to love me, and watch intolerable TV.


Hi my name is Grace and I’m an architecture and engineer student here in Michigan. I come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and lived in Kenya before moving to the States. Hence I speak 4 and ½ languages (English /French /Swahili /Lingala / Tshiluba). My passion for building environments and their effect on the people which they serve directed me to join as an AmeriCorps member with CWS. My hope is that interacting with people of different backgrounds, especially those from war torn countries, will give me a better understanding of the environment which people will need, and ultimately, make me a better architect for my home country where I plan to work.


My name is Hamed. I am from Afghanistan. I graduated from high school in 2012. I started working with United States military advisors in my country as interpreter/ translator in DynCorp International Company. Our mission was to train Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan army (ANA). I participated in training classes to train the ANP and ANA in many different parts of their duties. During the five years working with US army advisors, I put my life in jeopardy, received threats, and faced rocket launches and suicide bombers. I survived, and unfortunately I lost some of my friends in these incidents who eagerly wanted to help the people who really need help. The dedication they had was admirable. We were willing to perform the hard work of helping the people who suffered from poverty, lack of security, education, corruption and unemployment in their lives. We always focused on the glory we could create and focused on the difference that we could make in the lives of other people. It inspired me to struggle to the challenges that I faced and ever gave up helping others. In 2014, I moved as a refugee to start new life. I worked as a taxi driver and volunteered at CWS. I have taken refugees shopping, to the DMV for driving tests, and registered them in English classes. I am serving as AmeriCorps member (since July, 2016) and have been helping other refugees with home and health orientation. I feel very happy to working in CWS, because I am helping those people who are really in need of help, and I can understand the unique need of refugees, because I came through this process. I am also in the unique position to advocate for our work, our clients, and our impact–including how our clients improve their knowledge in the area of housing and health to adjust themselves to the community and become self -sufficient in short period of time. It has been my honor to be part of this program to implement Intensive Community Orientation ( ICO ) to the many different refugees we resettle. It is rewarding to see them become self-sufficient and engaged in a healthy community.


My name is Faridah. I was born in Republic of Congo (DRC). I was a refugee in the Uganda Nakivale camp. I worked with refugees for five years. I moved to the USA in February 2014 and started to work at Pompieri pizza. I started as a dishwasher and moved up to the line cook position. In 2014, I started taking CNA classes and interpreting at CWS. I am fluent in Kinyarwanda, Swahili, French, Kinyabwisha and Luganda. At CWS, I worked with newly arrived refugees, showing them how to open bank accounts and how to use the bus. In my free time, my son and I like to watch movies. I am excited to be serving a second year as an AmeriCorps member.