Working two jobs to help her community – World Refugee Day 2018

working two jobs in Indiana

Fort Wayne, Indiana – a community health care coordinator honors a colleague who is working two jobs to help her community.

Janet ‘Baby’ Kein is an advocate for refugee families who are newly transitioning to the United States. She is working two jobs and influential in many facets in our community.

Baby Kein’s family is originally from Burma, but her mother decided to move the Thailand in effort to keep her family safe. She was a single parent raising two young daughters and grandson. In search of further security and educational opportunities for her family, Baby’s mother then decided to move her family to America when Baby was 10 years old.

The family originally moved to an area in North Carolina with no Burmese community. This was extremely hard for the family due to the language barrier, the completely new culture, and the lack of Burmese community members to help them integrate.

At such an early age, Baby remembers her mother being fearful and very lonely. It was extremely hard to adjust being in a completely new environment, especially without a male figure to share responsibilities. Baby’s mother worked and raised her family alone.

Baby quickly learned English in school and helped her mother with community resources and medical appointments. The responsibility was now switched from the parent to the child, and Baby matured very quickly to help her family adjust.

When the family moved from North Carolina to Fort Wayne, Indiana, they found a Burmese refugee community, and this move put Baby’s mother at ease. She was now connected with the community.

Today, Baby is actively impacting the community through her work. She is working two jobs: a receptionist position with Familia Dental as well as a community advocate for Amani Family Services. At Familia Dental, Baby focuses on making dental visits easier, more accessible, and affordable. Baby is an advocate for oral hygiene to help refugee families enjoy healthy and beautiful smiles. Working as a community advocate for Amani Family Services, she has the ability to partner with immigrant and refugee families and the community to promote safety, encourage personal growth, and foster a spirit of belonging.

Baby is extremely passionate about education in the refugee community.

She spends the majority of her time influencing the youth, encouraging them to stay drug free and move into secondary education to meet their maximum potential. She works with the parents, encouraging them to support higher education for their children instead of pushing them to directly join the workforce.

Looking back, although her plate was full, Baby is grateful for challenges in her childhood because they gave her a boost of confidence that, in her adult life, has helped her influence other refugee families. She can fully relate to the emotions and fears that families have when transitioning to America. ​

Refugees shaking hands

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World Refugee Day 2018

This month, to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20, US-born Americans across the United States honor newcomer Americans with a story from their state – a story of a refugee, asylee, or immigrant they admire. From soldiers to politicians, employers to students, social workers to business people – everyday Americans tell their stories to celebrate the goodness and courage of the newcomers who make the United States a better place.

Every day in the month of June, the Refugee Center Online will publish a new story from a different state. Check back for new stories each day: therefugeecenter.org/world-refugee-day.

Learn more about World Refugee Day. All across the country, there will be events celebrating World Refugee Day. Visit this map to find an event in your community.

About Brittney McDowell
Brittney McDowell was born and grew up in South Florida and first moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for college (IPFW) in 2008. She is a Community Relations Coordinator for Familia Dental in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has two daughters and spend her free time with her family.