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Washington, D.C., September 29, 2016 – Ayuda hosted its Welcome Breakfast on September 21 as its preeminent outreach program to community partners, civic leaders, and philanthropists in the Washington region. Sponsored by AmeriHealth Caritas DC, the event included more than 200 guests. WAMU’s senior reporter, Armando Trull, served as master of ceremonies.

 Live and video testimonials by former Ayuda clients provided vivid and gripping narratives about the plight of refugees and low-income immigrants whom Ayuda serves. Moussa, from Senegal, spoke of his experience as a domestic violence survivor. Sandra, from El Salvador, narrated the challenges she faced in trying to enroll for college. Julius, from Rwanda, recounted post-genocide violence that wrought immense personal havoc – witnessing friends and family die, attempts on his own life and despairing for his wife and children. The audience was visibly moved by their stories, which mercifully had joyful endings with Ayuda’s help.

 “Your breakfast event was very moving. It’s good to be reminded of how others are suffering around the world and that we all have an opportunity to affect change,” remarked a guest.

Armando Trull added that the migrant crisis happening in D.C.’s backyard is “the second worse migrant crisis after the Syrian refugee crisis.” He described the tens of thousands of Central American immigrants that have fled their home country due to gang violence and impoverished living situations.

Paula Fitzgerald, executive director of Ayuda, spoke of critical unmet needs because of limited capacity. “Ayuda is able to accept approximately 25 client appointments a day, but turn away 40 more daily. This organization feels a moral responsibility to help those in need and not to turn them away.”

Ayuda thanks guests for volunteering to promote Ayuda, making generous donations, and offering to provide pro bono services to help Ayuda build additional opportunities to serve more.

The Welcome Breakfast also showcased a new Ayuda video and engaged guests in small group discussions. The event raised more $18,000 from individual donors. Ayuda extends its profound gratitude.

Click here for the Welcome Breakfast photo gallery

Click here for media coverage of the event

Correspondent, NPR News

Tom Gjelten covers issues of religion, faith, and belief for NPR News, a beat that encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and social and cultural conflict arising from religious differences. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world.

In 1986, Mr. Gjelten became one of NPR’s pioneer foreign correspondents, posted first in Latin America and then in Central Europe. In the years that followed, he covered the wars in Central America, social and political strife in South America, the first Gulf War, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the transitions to democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Tom Gjelten’s latest book is A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story, published in 2015.

Vice President of Government Relations, Greater Washington Board of Trade

Daniel Flores is vice president of government relations for the Greater Washington Board of Trade. He is the chief lobbyist representing the organization in MD, DC, VA and Capitol Hill. He has been with the organization for nearly nine years. Flores held other leadership positions, including president and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; executive director of The Latino Student Fund, senior director of outreach for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and chief of staff of the District of Columbia Public Service Commission during the Anthony Williams Administration.

Mr. Flores is active in the community and serves on a number of boards including the Girls Scouts Council of the National Capital Area and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He previously served on the board of the following organizations: Holy Cross Hospital Foundation, Holy Cross Health, Community Advisory Board of NBC4, Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs – State of Maryland, and Maryland Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs.