Equal Voice Initiative
San Diego, CA | 18
2019 AWARD RECIPIENT
“My teachers helped me get through my childhood. Nowadays, I am there for other children. I give them a shoulder to cry on. I fight relentlessly to give them a chance to escape their poverty—like the one I was given.”
John Finkelman understands the challenges refugees face. As a first generation American, he identifies with those who are unsure of where "home" really is. He has witnessed firsthand the devastating effects poverty has on families and the challenges it brings to the process of building a life. All this led John to start Equal Voice Initiative, an organization dedicated to supporting refugee families transitioning to life in the United States. The lack of government assistance his family received when they arrived in the U.S. inspired John to make sure other families in a similar situation had access to more resources. Equal Voice Initiative has served nearly 5,000 refugees since John started the organization. With a conscious focus on teaching practical life skills, Equal Voice Initiative works in the San Diego area to help refugee families lay down stable roots by teaching them things like money management, navigating public transit, CPR, and English.