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Roger Boughton: Making good on a dream

Today I share with you the story of a special person by the name of Herve Idjidina.   

He is native born in Benin, West Africa, and  has two brothers and a sister.  He earned a college degree in Benin and spent 14 years as a banker, including  seven years as a finance director of a bank. His wife’s name is Sophie and they have three sons who are 10, 13 and 16 years of age.   

He and his family came to the United States in 2014.

They spoke little English but he had a dream. He wanted to make a difference. They landed in Boston with little money, no friends and couldn’t understand or speak English.

Fortunately, his wife had a nephew who lived in Austin, Minnesota, and was willing to take them in and help them adjust to this new country.

The community was welcoming and helpful. He enrolled at the Austin Community Learning Center and was soon learning to speak, write and understand English.   

One year later, he was employed with the Austin Public Schools as a paraprofessional, helping students  to have a successful learning experience at school. After two years he was hired by the Welcome Center as  a social service coordinator and was well on his way to helping new members make a soft landing in the community of Austin.

Two years later, he became the director of the Welcome Center and began to satisfy his passion of serving others.  Most of the clients that he works for at the Welcome Center are much like himself: out of their comfort zone and looking for a better future for their family.

He sees himself listening to their stories  and helping them to appreciate their journey and taking the next step in becoming an integrated part of the community of Austin.

He took that next step himself  and became president-elect of the Austin Early Risers Kiwanis Club and  a member of Toastmasters.

His future goal of the Welcome Center is to see it become a place where new residents to the community see themselves and their families welcomed by the community and integrated successfully into Austin and the surrounding area.

They each have a story and a journey to share and energy to contribute to the betterment of the community.  Herve is that unsung hero whose passion is helping immigrants new  to the community get a good start in Austin and continue their journey in seeking out a better life for themselves and their family.  Herve is making a difference.