Wednesday, August 8, 2007

FIRN Gets New Exec Director

Former River Hill village board member Jennifer L. Blake takes over tomorrow as the new executive director of FIRN Inc., the Columbia-based nonprofit devoted to helping the foreign born, according to the Sun.

Blake, 53, is a self-employed community development consultant.

"The change comes as the number of foreign-born residents in Howard County is growing," the paper reports. "During the first half of the decade, the county's Hispanic population rose 33 percent and its Asian population rose 42 percent."

FIRN aims to serve the foreign born by providing interpreters, running an immigration clinic, an employment program and providing literacy tutoring. The group also makes office space available to Hispanic and Korean groups, to try to bring different ethnic groups closer together.

Blake told the paper she is learning Spanish, and speaks limited French and Urdu, the language of Pakistan, her husband Mohammad Saleem's native tongue.

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