STAFF

Omar BahOmar Bah, Founder & Executive Director

Languages spoken: English, Fula, Sererr, Mandinka

(see bio on Founders page)

Contact Omar: omar@refugeedreamcenter.org

Hayk BalayanHayk Balayan, Financial Manager

Languages spoken: English, Russian, Armenian

Hayk graduated summa cum laude from Moscow State University of Economics with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a concentration in Finance and Banking. Hayk recently moved to the United States and, by understanding the needs of immigrants, wanted to immerse himself into helping displaced families to adjust to their new life. Having a vast international experience in finance allows Hayk to strategically target the company’s needs and concerns ensuring the Center’s smooth operation. Hayk provides administrative level support for the Center and is responsible for reviewing financial reports and monitoring accounts. Beyond his work, Hayk enjoys travelling and learning about new cultures and traditions. 

Contact Hayk: hayk@refugeedreamcenter.org

Kara SkalingKara Skaling, Programs Coordinator

Languages spoken: English

Kara obtained a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Middle and High School Education with a concentration in English and Social Studies at Champlain College in Burlington, VT.  Having spent a semester abroad in London, Kara also discovered her love for travel and learning about new cultures. She spent much of her time in Burlington tutoring refugee youth. A former high school teacher, Kara continues to follow her passion of helping people at the Refugee Dream Center.  As the Programs Coordinator, Kara ensures all programs run smoothly and works within the community to coordinate volunteers and collaborate with other organizations. In her spare time, Kara looks forward to planning new travel adventures, watching soccer,  and spending time with her pup, Zlatan.

Contact Kara: kara@refugeedreamcenter.org

Mary SteeleMary Steele, ESL Teacher

Languages spoken: English, Spanish

Mary Steele is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher of adults from Massachusetts, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree from Mount Holyoke College. Before pursuing a career in ESL, Steele worked as a producer, writer and director in television news and documentary for thirty years. Much of her documentary work involves international stories focused on social justice issues. She has received a New England Emmy Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award, as well as several Emmy nominations. She is earning her master’s degree in TESL at Rhode Island College as part of a longtime goal to teach later in life and continue the vibrant, fulfilling work of engaging with people from many different cultures. She is an advocate for refugees and immigrants and an ardent believer in access to equal opportunity for all.  Mary Steele teaches in college, community, and one-on-one tutoring settings.

Contact Mary: mary@refugeedreamcenter.org

Isabel Kayembe, Case Manager

Languages spoken: English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Swahili & Umbundu

(Bio coming soon)

Contact Isabel: isabel@refugeedreamcenter.org

Richard Husser, Social Service & Data Management VISTA

AmeriCorps VISTA Fellowship, Brown University Swearer Center

Languages spoken: English

Richard is responsible for sustainable capacity building at the Refugee Dream Center by analyzing case management data for grant submissions and quality assurance, expanding a database of case management resources, and building collaborative relationships. He received a bachelors degree in Biology from the University of Houston and has over 22 years of combined experience in biomedical research and research administration. Richard is passionate about education and connecting with people, and he is interested in using his experience to support the Providence community members through the Refugee Dream Center and engage in the nonprofit realm. Richard is new to Rhode Island and enjoys kayaking, hiking, and lifelong learning.

Contact Richard: richard@refugeedreamcenter.org