Social Services

Building a Home Away from Home

When everything in my life is falling apart, my case manager is there to support me, find me a doctor, a place to live, listen to my pain and make me feel safe.
— TASSC Survivor

Program Overview

The Social Services Program provides a “second home” for survivors of torture in a warm, caring environment where they can begin to heal. We are staffed by mental health professionals with extensive experience working across cultures and with survivors of trauma. Clinical interns from local universities and graduate programs also add support to the program.

At the core of our program is Clinical Case Management. Our clinical staff work with survivors to develop “wellness plans” that focus on each survivor's strengths to develop a path to reach their goals. Clinical case managers assist and encourage this process by providing information and referrals to needed resources, including in-house psychological, legal and social supports, as well as to medical and other services with our community partners.

Around 300 survivors receive direct clinical case management support each year. Others become part of the TASSC community, which functions as a drop-in center, encouraging survivors to come at any time to enjoy coffee, eat lunch, speak with staff, attend events and workshops, or to use computers and borrow books from the TASSC library. 

The support provided by TASSC's Social Services Program is needed now more than ever. Survivors have endured much in their home countries, and continue to face challenges as they adjust to life in the United States. From navigating the asylum process and fulfilling basic needs, to setting goals that will shape a new life, survivors can engage with TASSC staff at every step along the way. 

 

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES

Life Skills Workshops

Life Skills workshops are offered on a regular basis throughout the year to help survivors manage stress while gaining practical knowledge and skills. Topics have included:

  • banking and building credit,

  • healthcare and health insurance,

  • career development,

  • professional volunteer work,

  • taxes,

  • obtaining a driver’s license,

  • affordable housing,

  • nutrition,

  • navigating American grocery stores, and

  • asylum-seeker rights.

TASSC welcomes community partners and supporters to lead each workshop.

 

English Conversation Classes

TASSC provides free classes every week in conversational English as a Second Language (ESL) and referrals to free and low-cost English classes in the Washington, DC area. Our classes use subjects that help survivors learn both language and culture in the United States. Topics have included:

  • greetings,

  • transportation and navigating the DMV area,

  • ordering food,

  • communicating with bank tellers,

  • talking about sports,

  • getting help in an emergency,

  • discussing needs at doctor’s visits, and

  • excelling in an interview.

Classes are designed to be a safe space to try new words and ask questions about the English language, as well as understand its use in American culture.

Career Development Services

Finding a job is often a survivor’s first priority after receiving a work permit. TASSC’s career development services support survivors as they identify short- and long-term employment goals. TASSC members can meet with our Career Development Coordinator, or one of our many Career Development Volunteers to develop a resume, learn about cover letters and job interviews skills, and to begin growing a professional network that may one day lead to professional employment. TASSC regularly invites its community and business partners to share information about their programs and employment opportunities at TASSC. Partners include local education and training institutions, as well as recruiters and employers in a range of industries.  

In 2017, TASSC launched a Professional Mentorship Program. Through this program, survivors are paired with a mentor in their professional field that can assist in building professional connections, developing strategic employment plans, and building confidence in navigating the American workforce.