April 6, 2023
With EveryStep's Support, Abdullah Navigates a New Culture for His Family
EveryStep board member Howard Eaton is competing against other board members in EveryStep's Amazing FundRacer May 18. Competitors are vying to raise the most donations to EveryStep through their individual teams. See the button below to donate directly through Howard's team, and read on about his recent visit to Abdullah.
Abdullah is one of thousands of Afghans who fled their country when the Taliban overthrew the government in 2021. Resettled in Iowa, EveryStep is by his side as he and his family create their new lives. With a language barrier, tasks like fixing a clerical error can be especially difficult.
On this day, EveryStep FathersMatter program coordinator Larry Young is visiting Abdullah at his apartment before he goes to his job. Through an EveryStep interpreter, Abdullah shares that his car insurance has been cancelled for non-payment, although Larry had helped him set up automatic payments from his checking account.
Larry spends an hour on the phone with the insurance company to sort things out. It turns out a typo by the insurance company caused the issue. The problem is fixed and Abdullah’s insurance is reinstated.
This is the kind of problem that is simple, though frustrating to fix if you’re familiar with the way insurance works and speak English fluently. For refugees like Abdullah, it can seem insurmountable without EveryStep’s assistance.
EveryStep board member Howard Eaton was with Larry during his visit to Abdullah and says it made a big impression. “Most people, when they think about programs like EveryStep, think about the big things people are doing. They don't think about these small life challenges that are important for people, especially immigrants - there's a language barrier. The fact that we can help them navigate through that process is amazing, is huge. It's impactful. We just made a huge impact on that gentleman's life in that hour we spent with him.”
The personal connection EveryStep makes with individuals and families is one reason Howard wanted to serve on the EveryStep Foundation Board of Trustees. “I've been a part of other boards before and you're working with businesses and helping people solve business problems. But for me, this is more touching, is way more meaningful. I get more fulfillment from working with this board because of things like we just spent an hour doing. This is what it's about.”
Howard feels passionate about EveryStep’s work because of his own life story. “I come from very humble beginnings. I was raised by a single mom with seven children on government assistance. I know the struggle of going without and not having help. I can put myself in the position of those we support because I lived in their position. I know the impact of the things that we do have on people's lives. Serving on the board is the way that I give back for the people that helped my family.”
Accompanying Larry on his visit to Abdullah was the first time Howard was able to see EveryStep’s work first-hand. “It makes me hungry to do more. It gives me extra fuel to see the impact EveryStep has.”
The help EveryStep provides to people like Abdullah is just one example of what EveryStep’s staff and programs do every day, all across Iowa. As a nonprofit, EveryStep relies on gifts and donations to ensure this work continues.
If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at www.everystep.org/find-care. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.