State dept. official visits children from Iraq, Syria in metro Detroit
MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WJBK) - A key state department official visits metro Detroit for a first-hand look at how hundreds of children from Iraq and Syria are adjusting to life in America.
Danny Talal is a new third grader at Keys Grace Academy Charter School, surviving his trip from Iraq to America after his eye was blinded in an attack.
He's one of many students at the school with similar immigration stories. Stories which Joseph Pennington, the deputy assistant secretary from the U.S. State Department came to hear.
"I thought it was important since I'm in the area to come and see what has happened to some of the children," said Joseph Pennington, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. State Department.
He was invited to tour the school and speak with the students, all while remembering his time stationed in Iraq.
"It's encouraging to see that some of those lives, and there are many, many more who are still in Iraq, that at least in these limited number of cases, that children do have access to help," Pennington said.
Pennington thought it was very important to visit some of the 400 students at Keys Grace Academy to see first-hand how these wonderful boys and girls have assimilated to U.S. culture.
"It was an honor for us to have him here. He served in Iraq. He saw those people first-hand," said Asaad Kalasho, founder of Keys Grace Academy.
Many of the children come from Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries on top of what's learned in the classroom, the students and their families are provided extra services, like help with English.
"They have faced horrific incidents and have faced terrible times," Kalasho said.
Danny still has a long road ahead, wishing every day for his father and 12-year-old brother to join him and his mother in the land of the free.