William Magenge started his career as a volunteer with Catholic Charities in 2007 and became a caseworker serving refugees the following year. A native of Burundi, he was well-equipped to serve Burundian refugees resettling in Cincinnati at the time.
But he longed to reunite with his son who was still in Burundi. When the Catholic Charities human resources manager learned of William’s dream, she told him that the agency would find a way to assist him. Catholic Charities covered the cost of his son’s immigration legal fees and airfare to Cincinnati.
“When he came here, he only knew a few words of English but he learned very quickly,” William said of his son, William, Jr.
His son explained, “My first four months I studied ESL courses and then went to summer camp at the end of the school year.”
William Jr., graduated from ESL (English for Speakers of other Languages) by the time he began the following school year as a freshman at Withrow High School. Now at 21, he’s a junior studying biochemistry at the University of Cincinnati where he works part-time as a teacher’s assistant.
His father is proud.
“We are so grateful. This is the outcome of what Catholic Charities made possible,” William, Sr., said pointing to his son. “He’s now contributing to our great country.”
Catholic Charities Operating Officer Alisa Berry said, “This speaks to our culture. We’re here to serve and work to keep families together.”