"Hello Neighbor" Helps Welcome Immigrant and Refugee Families to Pittsburgh

Air Date: 05/10/2018
Source:
NBC Nightly News
Creator:
Lester Holt
Air/Publish Date:
05/10/2018
Event Date:
05/10/2018
Resource Type:
News Report
Copyright:
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
2018
Clip Length:
00:02:20

Hello Neighbor matches immigrant and refugee families that are new to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with local families. The participants learn from each other, forming lasting bonds along the way. This video is part of an NBC News series "Inspiring America."

"Hello Neighbor" Helps Welcome Immigrant and Refugee Families to Pittsburgh

LESTER HOLT, reporting:

Finally from Pittsburgh, one of this city’s famous sons, Fred Rogers, every day used to ask his young viewers--won’t you be my neighbor? Well, we found that welcoming spirit to be alive and well here through a program that is easing the challenges often faced by newly-arrived immigrants and refugees by matching them with locals who very much want them to be their neighbors. Best friends, born worlds apart.

ALEX O’CONNOR: I like running around with Mansur.

HOLT: Alex O’Connor is from Pittsburgh, and Mansur Al Zobi from Syria. Their families were brought together by Hello Neighbor, a program helping refugees and immigrants--

CROWD: Hey.

HOLT: --integrate into the community by pairing them with locals. Together, they explore the city.

JASON O’CONNOR: I think in the long run, we want them to feel like they are Pittsburghers, like this is their home.

HOLT: Sloane Davidson founded the program in her hometown.

SLOANE DAVIDSON: This is the example we want to set for what Americans can and should be.

HOLT: So far, 50 refugee and Pittsburgh families have been matched. The refugees originate from seven countries. What was it like coming to America? You had to leave Congo?

WOMAN: First, when we came to the United States, we were a little bit scared.

HOLT: Have you found a community? Manuel Yava and his family are from the Congo--

MANUEL YAVA: Welcome.

HOLT: --Brad Eddie and Rachel Weaver are their mentors.

RACHEL WEAVER: Everybody knows how it feels to be in transition. And, you know, whether it’s something that we might experience like a new job or a new neighborhood. We just wanted to try to ease that transition.

HOLT: Brad and Rachel more than eased that transition. They became family, there for major milestones.

YAVA: Rachel, she was the only family member who attended the graduation of our son. Really, that’s-- it was something that touched us.

WOMAN: When Jamie was born, the first person I called, it was Rachel.

HOLT: You called her because she’s family?

WOMAN: Yes.

YAVA: Yeah.

WOMAN: Yes, that’s why I called her.

HOLT: Brad feels the same way.

BRAD EDDIE: I think we both feel like we have people we can count on and depend on and talk to.

HOLT: Pittsburgh has welcomed you?

YAVA: Yeah.

WOMAN: Mm-Hm. Yes.

HOLT: Once strangers now family, making the world feel a tiny bit smaller.

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