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By Laura Cadiz and Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF | March 29, 2002
The Foreign-born Information and Referral Network - a Columbia nonprofit organization with the ambitious goal of helping immigrants start new lives in America - is struggling with a roughly $50,000 deficit, the largest in its 20-year history. The only organization in Maryland that works comprehensively with all foreign-born people, FIRN has gone back to budgeting basics as it tries to lift itself out of debt. And its basic premise is, "We get the money first, and we spend it second," said Dawn Fisk Thomsen, the group's interim director.
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NEWS
May 3, 2009
FIRN, the county government, the county Economic Development Authority and the county Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the seventh annual American Success Awards Dinner from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. May 6 at the Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville. Tickets are $75; $675 for a table of 10. Purchase online at www.firnonline.org or send a check to FIRN Inc., 5999 Harpers Farm Road, Suite E-200, Columbia, MD 21044. Information: 410-992-1923.
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NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,Sun reporter | August 8, 2007
Jennifer L. Blake of River Hill, a self-employed community development consultant, starts tomorrow as the new executive director of FIRN Inc., the Columbia-based nonprofit devoted to helping the foreign born. Blake, 53, a Howard County resident since 1994, replaces Roy Appletree, FIRN's director since 2003, who announced his decision to leave six months ago. "I'm transitioning - taking a sabbatical - said Appletree, 60. "I just felt it was time to move on." The change comes as the number of foreign-born residents in Howard County is growing.
NEWS
September 18, 2008
Dia de la Familia to be held Sunday The Columbia Association will hold its sixth Dia de la Familia from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Columbia SportsPark. The family event, held each year in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, will feature disc jockey Bobby Nyk and catering by Zapata's restaurant in Harper's Choice. Miniature golf, batting cages, a Moon Bounce, a balloon sculptor and face painter, door prizes, dance demonstrations and a Salsa dancing competition are planned. Admission is free.
NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF | November 27, 2000
It's hard to find out what is hurting someone who doesn't speak your language. It's even harder if, in that person's culture, he or she isn't supposed to talk about it. To help solve these problems among Howard County's growing group of poor immigrants, the Horizon Foundation is awarding a $291,621 grant to the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network. In addition, the foundation is awarding $52,000 to the Association of Community Services, an umbrella group of Howard nonprofit organizations.
NEWS
May 3, 2009
FIRN, the county government, the county Economic Development Authority and the county Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the seventh annual American Success Awards Dinner from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. May 6 at the Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville. Tickets are $75; $675 for a table of 10. Purchase online at www.firnonline.org or send a check to FIRN Inc., 5999 Harpers Farm Road, Suite E-200, Columbia, MD 21044. Information: 410-992-1923.
NEWS
June 25, 2008
FIRN elects Meiser Verena Meiser, an attorney in the Howard County law firm Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC, has been elected to the board of directors of the Columbia-based Foreign-born Information and Referral Network (FIRN). Meiser represents individuals, business and associations, and provides representation to clients in estate planning, probate, trust administration and real estate matters. She is fluent in German and Spanish, and has reading, writing and speaking skills in French and Turkish.
NEWS
July 24, 2000
Gary D. Hughes named director of FIRN Gary D. Hughes has been named director of Foreign-born Information & Referral Network (FIRN), based in Columbia. Hughes will oversee the nonprofit organization, which provides immigrants and refugees health care, housing, employment and instruction in English and immigration law. Real estate associates complete training course Several Long & Foster Real Estate sales associates have completed Fast Start, a training program in real estate law, ethics, sales and contracts.
NEWS
August 16, 1994
The Foreign-born Information and Referral Network (FIRN) has elected the following people to serve a three-year term on the board of directors:Scott Nicholson, the Columbia Bank; Judith Rifkin, FIRN International Cabaret volunteer; Nancy Perry, C&P Telephone retiree, Cabaret volunteer; Judy Friedman, Howard County American Heart Association; Lucie Lapovsky, Goucher College; Rafia Siddiqui, Columbia Association; Christopher Tsien, Esq.The following have...
NEWS
By Jean Leslie and Jean Leslie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 22, 1997
THE FOREIGN Information and Referral Network (FIRN) of Howard County has for many years been offering support to Howard County's newest residents: recent immigrants.One of FIRN's many successful endeavors is the Learn and Serve America program, in which high school students tutor a new immigrant one-on-one weekly.The students make a commitment to help for six months.The students improve their communication and English skills as well as gaining a greater understanding of cultural diversity and civic responsibility as they tutor.
NEWS
June 25, 2008
FIRN elects Meiser Verena Meiser, an attorney in the Howard County law firm Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC, has been elected to the board of directors of the Columbia-based Foreign-born Information and Referral Network (FIRN). Meiser represents individuals, business and associations, and provides representation to clients in estate planning, probate, trust administration and real estate matters. She is fluent in German and Spanish, and has reading, writing and speaking skills in French and Turkish.
NEWS
By Karen Nitkin and Karen Nitkin,special to the sun | March 21, 2008
When Ron Kline retired from his computer scientist job at the Department of Defense in 1999, he worried about being bored. He didn't want to spend his days watching soap operas and talk shows, so he went to the Columbia office of the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network, seeing if he could volunteer. Kline, who had taught English while living in Japan, had hoped to teach English for the nonprofit organization, which provides resources for county residents who were born in other countries.
NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,Sun reporter | August 8, 2007
Jennifer L. Blake of River Hill, a self-employed community development consultant, starts tomorrow as the new executive director of FIRN Inc., the Columbia-based nonprofit devoted to helping the foreign born. Blake, 53, a Howard County resident since 1994, replaces Roy Appletree, FIRN's director since 2003, who announced his decision to leave six months ago. "I'm transitioning - taking a sabbatical - said Appletree, 60. "I just felt it was time to move on." The change comes as the number of foreign-born residents in Howard County is growing.
NEWS
By Karen Nitkin and Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | October 27, 2006
On Halloween night in 1979, Columbia resident Pat Hatch opened her door to a young Korean family of trick-or-treaters. While the mother waited at the end of the sidewalk, the two children collected their candy. Hatch, who had lived in Korea for 2 1/2 years when her husband was stationed there, greeted the mother in Korean and invited the family in to talk. The young mother wanted advice. "She very much wanted to go to English classes but didn't know how to find them," said Hatch. Before long, the mother - who has since moved back to Korea, Hatch believes - was bringing other Korean families to Hatch.
NEWS
February 22, 2006
FIRN seeking award nominations Nominations are being sought for the American Success Award sponsored by FIRN, the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network, in partnership with Howard County government, Howard County Economic Development Authority, and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. The awards, which celebrate the achievements of Howard County's foreign-born business community, will be presented at a dinner May 10 at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville. Recipients must be foreign-born and their businesses must be in Howard County.
NEWS
October 30, 2005
The Issue: -- Howard County is becoming a cultural and international crossroads - the county's foreign-born population stands at 16.7 percent, or 46,000 people, up from just 5 percent in 1970, according to a report funded by the county government and the Horizon Foundation. That population is growing, posing challenges for schools, social service agencies and health care providers. How well do you think Howard County is doing in knitting new immigrants into the fabric of the community? What more can be done to foster cultural understanding between native-born Howard countians and those who have made the county their home?
NEWS
February 22, 2006
FIRN seeking award nominations Nominations are being sought for the American Success Award sponsored by FIRN, the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network, in partnership with Howard County government, Howard County Economic Development Authority, and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. The awards, which celebrate the achievements of Howard County's foreign-born business community, will be presented at a dinner May 10 at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville. Recipients must be foreign-born and their businesses must be in Howard County.
NEWS
By Laura Cadiz and Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF | December 28, 2001
Dawn Fisk Thomsen's career could be labeled "parachute managing" - she briefly drops into nonprofit organizations as the interim executive director, fixes problems and leaves. As a management consultant, she is around for only months but leaves lasting impressions. Since 1996, the Columbia resident has served as interim executive director for five local nonprofit organizations. Now, she is the head of FIRN, the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network in Columbia, which helps new immigrants assimilate to life in the United States.
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