Ittikorn Hunsagul cooks, washes, and takes out trash from the Capitol Hill Thai restaurant in Seattle. The work supports the family he came with as well as his mother, who was living alone after the death of her American-born husband.
Hunsagul was trained in architectural design in his home country Thailand, and he is determined to get back to it in America. English is the key to his American dream.
With the help of the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, his dream is gradually becoming a reality.
Every day Hunsagul rises early in the morning to ride a bus for two hours to South Seattle College, where he takes English and computer-literacy classes. Then he catches a light rail to Capitol Hill, where he works until after midnight. He gets back home for a little sleep before starting all over again.
ACRS provides Hunsagul a transit card, assistance with groceries and ongoing mentoring. By partnering with the Ready To Work program, funded by the city of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, ACRS helps people with little knowledge of English overcome the language barrier and find better-paying jobs. The nonprofit serves Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, whether they are immigrants, refugees, or native-born. The wide range of help it offers includes medical care, citizenship and immigration services and mental-health counseling.
Hunsagul has already made significant progress with his positive attitude, said Olivia Louko, his case manager. “His whole day is filled with exhausting stuff, and he never complains, he never seems tired,” she said, according to The Seattle Times.
Hunsagul is a firm believer in the American dream, especially for his two years old son, Thitsadee. “I need my son to grow up here,” he said to The Seattle Times. “It’s good. He can do whatever he wants to do. Anything.”
His own dream is not far from his grasp. Hunsagul’s story is the classic immigrant story, and thanks to organizations like ACRS, it will likely have a happy ending.
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