Thea Bowman House, an Invaluable Resource for Many Refugees, Celebrates 35-Year Anniversary

Since 1986, Thea Bowman House in Utica has offered year-round childcare services to low-income, culturally diverse families. These educational and social enrichment services have helped many families break the cycle of poverty.

Maria Htoo and Isabella Moo, Karen sisters whose family arrived in Utica in 2001 under The Center’s refugee resettlement program, shared positive testimonies regarding their experiences at Thea Bowman House. Maria, now a freshman at Rochester Institute of Technology, credits her academic success to her many years spent at Thea Bowman House.

“I believe it opened many opportunities for me,” said Maria. “By being involved in so many activities at the center, I learned discipline, citizenship and especially leadership… I understand the importance of giving back to the community.”

“I felt welcomed with loving arms into Thea Bowman House,” said Isabella, who is pursuing an International Relations degree at Buffalo State College and is planning to specialize in either environmental or immigration law. She recalled meeting adults who “wanted to listen to me when I had troubles… [and] encouraged me when I struggled… They were a family who taught me to grow and create different perspectives.”

Originally published by the Utica Observer-Dispatch, 7/15/21

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