2008 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
Roanoke Refugee and Immigration Services
In the nineteen years that Ms. Smith has worked for the Roanoke Refugee and Immigration Services, she has settled more than 3,000 refugees from thirty-one different countries, averaging close to 200 refugees a year.
Ms. Smith has taught cultural sensitivity courses to law enforcement officers and spear-headed a program that arranged for students from Virginia Tech to mentor immigrant families. Other accomplishments include: coordinating efforts to enlist volunteer tutors and mentors for the mass of political refugees who arrive in Roanoke each year; establishing a low-cost interpreter service for area agencies and businesses; hiring court-certified counselors to practice immigration law on a sliding scale fee; and persuading Roanoke city and county schools to fund three school liaisons in the Roanoke Refugee and Immigration Services Office to assist in enrolling the refugee and immigrant children into the school system.
The Roanoke Resident Agency (RA) of the Richmond Division first made contact with Ms. Smith approximately seven to eight years ago because of a matter involving a group of Vietnamese refugees; the RA has continued to work with her on a case-by-case basis. Through the years of continued support from Ms. Smith, her willingness to assist law enforcement in their mission has greatly enhanced the RA’s domain awareness by introducing FBI personnel to refugees and immigrants residing in the Roanoke territory; her support of the FBI has encouraged the refugees and immigrants to communicate more freely with the Bureau.