Fadi Koria's family left Iraq six years ago, but he still remembers seeing signs of war, including a militia, in his homeland. First, through Turkey, where they lived in refuge, with him and his sister lacking access to education, then to the United States and his current home, Fadi still remembers what it was like to grow up in Iraq.
"I left my country due to the hardships we faced as members of a religious minority there," Fadi said. "We didn't have the freedom that we wanted. We didn't have access to a good education to have a better future."
Despite missing two years of school and learning English on the fly, Fadi now excels at Paul Cousino High School in Warren. Earning a 4.01 GPA, he is both a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the National Society of High School Scholars.
Beyond his impressive academics is a further impressive drive to give back. Fadi frequently volunteers in the local community, giving back through Habitat for Humanity, CARE of Southeastern Michigan, and serving on a Student Advisory Committee for the city of Warren.
Fadi's family first came to the Chaldean Community Foundation for assistance with their Green Card applications. The family's plan, advocated by Fadi's mother, was to work as quickly as possible toward self-sufficiency.
Through their hard work, Fadi and his family were able to continue to reach their goals. Fadi has taken that same spirit of independence and hard work to heart. Aside from excelling academically and giving his time to numerous volunteer causes, he also works part-time at Walmart, a job he found through CCF's Career Services. Unsurprisingly, Fadi has achieved success at this as well, including earning Associate of the Month at his store.
The career services team has also provided support to Fadi's brother after he lost a job, helping him with the unemployment process and into a new role.
However, the struggle for Fadi's family wasn't over when they made it to America. They were still short a crucial part of their lives when they first arrived. Fadi's father was unable to immediately travel with the family when they left. In his absence, however, the rest of the family, including Fadi, stepped up to keep the household moving.
To expedite the immigration process, Fadi's family turned to the Chaldean Community Foundation. With the help of a dedicated immigration team, Fadi's father was able to join them last year.
With the family together again in their new home, Fadi is looking toward the future. He's beginning to look toward college as he finishes his senior year. His plan is to attend either University of Detroit Mercy or Oakland University, where he plans to study to become a doctor. He's especially interested in a program offered through the University of Detroit Mercy that would allow him to complete his undergraduate degree and medical school in seven years without an additional application for medical school. To help him meet the escalating costs of higher education, he's applying for scholarships, including the Dr. Nathima and Peter Atchoo Family Foundation Scholarship Fund through the CCF. Fadi is also in the process of getting a car through the Chaldean Loan Fund to make it easier for him to get back and forth to school and work.
Fadi's path has not been easy. While many would have given up, Fadi and his family have persevered. Now thriving, Fadi serves as a shining example for us to follow. The hard work and sacrifice he and his family have made to come to America have led him to be dedicated and driven in his own life.
With a bright future in front of him, Fadi and his family are preparing to embark on another incredible journey: becoming U.S. citizens next year. Congratulations to Fadi and his family! We look forward to seeing what's next from you on this journey!