COVID 19 TEMPORARY STAFF SCHEDULE
As of June 1, RISNW staff are available Monday through Friday by phone at the Alderwood CSO, Everett CSO and at our main office at Everett Community College. RISNW staff are also available 4 days a week at Bellingham CSO.
RISNW MAIN OFFICE – Rainier Hall #228
BIO: Van Dinh-Kuno, a former refugee from Vietnam, has dedicated most of her adult life helping others at Refugee & Immigrant Services Northwest where she has been Executive Director since 1991. Following her arrival to the US after the Fall of Saigon, she obtained a BS degree in Bio Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. After moving to WA State, she was hired first as a job developer, then assistant director before assuming her current position of 28 years as Executive Director. As the result of her own experience, she brings passion, understanding and commitment to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services so all refugees and immigrants can build a better life for themselves and their families.
Under her strong leadership and fiscal management, the annual operating budget has increased significantly over time with multiple revenue streams giving RISNW a strong and stable financial position. She developed numerous successful and strategic partnerships with local community colleges, DSHS/CSO, Employment Security, WorkSource and other local nonprofit providers to leverage services and resources while expanding RISNW’s service populations and geographic area reach beyond Snohomish County to Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan and Island Counties. She is a founding member of the Snohomish Local Planning Area (LPA) which now has more than 140 members.
Van is a recognized and tireless community advocate and civic leader. She is the recipient of numerous awards. The Outstanding Partnership Award from Everett WorkSource in 2002, Outstanding Service to Minority Communities Award from Baker St. Ministries, Asian Weekly Top Contributor Award in 2015 and, most recently, the Oscar Eason Jr.Community Service Award from the NAACP are among the many awards received.
Our team of 20 full-time and 137 on-call interpreters are fluent in 40 languages and dialects. We value partnerships, collaborations and services delivered by culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate staff who reflect the clients we serve.
My name is Vahida Polovina. I came to USA as refugee from Bosnia in 1995 and joined RISNW 1999 as bilingual case manager. Since that time, I have been continuously providing support and assistance to refugees and immigrants. It is my passion to work with diverse population and guide them through in the new beginning. My job allows me to touch the life of most vulnerable population, learn about their barriers and struggles and help them to resolve some of them. I have been working in all LEP pathway programs, WNA, Community Jobs.
Lead Bilingual Case Manager
My name is Kamal Acharya. I was born in Bhutan and raised in Nepal. My family and I moved to the United States as refugees in 2009 in search of a better life and opportunity. I worked as a teacher back in Nepal. Since July of 2013, I have been with RISNW as case manager and authorized social services interpreter. At RISNW, I help limited English refugees and immigrants move toward self-sufficiency by enrolling them into Work Experience Program, Community Job Program and job placement. I also provide social services, conduct citizenship training class and finally help them with naturalization application process.
My name is Nia Bell, I immigrated to the United State in 2012. As an Immigrant, I understand the challenges that the new comers are facing within their new country. I am fortunate to be working for Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest that gives me the opportunity to work closely with the refugees and immigrants by helping them adjust to their new surroundings. This may include providing services to apply for permanent residency and becoming a U.S citizen to fulfill the American dream. When I became a U S citizen, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I was now one of the citizens of this great country. I am excited to help others experience that I have learned in my journey.
Bilingual Case Manager
My name is Irina Chop. My family and I moved to the US from Russia as refugees in 1999. I joined RISNW team in March of 2018 and am working as a bi-lingual case manager. I speak English and Russian. Knowing from experience how hard it is to leave everything behind and go to a different country, my goal is to help immigrants in any way possible to settle and get used to a new way of life such as aid in registration for ESL classes, help with finding employment, providing information about available resources, etc. In addition, I provide assistance with applying for Green Cards and the US Citizenship.
My name is Hema Dahal, originally from Bhutan and I came to US in 2008 as refugee. I have been working for Refugee & Immigrant Services Northwest for more than 10 years now. I feel very lucky to be part of this organization where I get an opportunity to help the refugees and immigrants start their new lives in the new country and I love what I do.
AHMAD FAWAD AMIRZAI
Bilingual Case Manager
Persian, Pashto and Urdu
My name is Ahmad Amirzai, I was born and raised in Kabul Afghanistan and I moved to United States with a Special Immigration Visa in 2017 in search of a safe and better life. I worked as an Interpreter/Translator back in Afghanistan on behalf of US Special Forces , US Marines and US Army from February 2007 – March of 2017. Now I work as a Case Manager for RISNW, helping refugees and immigrants with employment, social service and other needed support and assistance.
WIOA Career Specialist
My name is Mariya Kazantseva. I immigrated to the United States with my family from Uzbekistan when I was four years old. I have worked for RISNW since October 2018, helping people of Snohomish County overcome barriers to employment, become self-sufficient and obtain quality jobs and careers.
Russian and Ukrainian
My name is Elvira Nazarova. I immigrated to the USA from Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2004 with my husband and two sons. I have an Associate of Arts Degree from Edmonds Community College and a Bachelor’s in Construction Management from UW in Seattle. From 2005 to 2010, I used to work as a teacher assistant at Edmonds Community College in their computer lab, helping other immigrants learn English grammar and improve their computer skills and literacy. Simultaneously, I was an interpreter for the Russian and Ukrainian communities to facilitate the communication between the students and advisers. My job was always interesting and socially important because I had the opportunity to help other people. My primary language is Russian, and I joined the RISNW team in May 2019. I enjoy working with immigrants because I feel pleased to help them.
TARSENY OTTIS APHKAS
WIOA Employment Specialist
My name is Tarseny Ottis Aphkas. I am from the Federated States of Micronesia, the State of Chuuk, and speak Chuukese. When I was nine years old, my family migrated to the United States and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii. My passion is to provide services to others that are in need. It is a privilege to work for RISNW serving the people of Snohomish County since December 2019.
Sinhala, Russian, Tamil
I am Malmi Peiris. I am from Sri Lanka. I recently migrated to the USA with my family having received permanent residency. I graduated as a Medical doctor and have worked in war affected regions as well as rural and urban areas among people with a multitude of economic and social problems. My special interests are in the fields of mental health and substance dependence. I speak English, Sinhala, Russian, Tamil. RISNW has immensely helped us in many ways to start life in a foreign country far from home. I am delighted and eager as a member of this team to extend a helping hand and to serve others and to help them achieve the American dream.
Bilingual Case Manager
Dari/Farsi and Pashto
My name is Abdul Rahman. I work as a Case Manager for RISNW. I am originally from Afghanistan; I worked as an interpreter with U.S military in Afghanistan and moved to U.S.A. with a special immigrant visa on 2015.
My name is Zander Refilong. I’m from the island of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia, part of what is known as the Compact of Free Association (COFA). I left my home country in 1986 to attend college in Guam. I completed my undergraduate study in Criminal Justice and graduate study in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and a graduate certificate in Micronesian Studies. I worked in Guam in the education field for over 15 years. My family and I moved to the United States mainland in 2014 in search of a better life and opportunity. I joined the RISNW team in February 2021 as an Employment Specialist and currently with the SnoCo Futures Youth Program. I feel fortunate to be part of RISNW and its professional team helping and seeing our youth in Snohomish County overcome barriers to obtain their GED/high school diplomas, obtain employment, and become self-sufficient and productive members of the community.
My name is Lochryn Selifis and I am from Chuuk State, in the Federated States of Micronesia. I came to the United States in the late ‘80s to further my education. I work as a Scheduler for Interpretation and Translation here at RISNW. As an immigrant, I was particularly attracted to this position because of my interest in assisting individuals from all walks of life. I appreciate this opportunity given by RISNW to use my skills and community connection to develop a more broadly-based career. My belief is to treat each individual with value and respect.
My name is Janai Williams. I have has spent the last 2 years working in Workforce Development. I have been dedicated to helping people with barriers achieve their educational goals and empower them towards careers that ensure that those who have been displaced or moved from their home achieve a new life they can be proud of.