Sunday, June 6, 2010

The American Dream: 25% There

Dickson Egbukonye is a lucky man. Against major odds Dickson won the Visa Lottery in 2009 in his home country of Nigeria. By winning his visa he was allowed to legally enter the USA as part of our government's effort to give a shot at the American Dream by providing a few lucky people in third-world countries the opportunty to come here and start a new life.

I have personally interviewed Dickson and was touched by his story. He calls his winning the Visa lottery nothing short of a miracle and sold all he had--his car, his TV, etc. to raise the $3,000 required to pay for the four visas he and his family would need to come here. He also had to raise the $2,000 for his airfare to come to the USA and prepare for his family's new life here. He is a trained security guard, already has his greencard and is actively interviewing for full-time work.

One month before he left for America his wife gave birth to their second son via C-Section. The cost of this procedure further depleted a chunk of his savings. He is now in a serious situation where he needs to get his family here before their visas expire later this summer. The cost of airfare and miscellaneous travel expenses is simply too great for him to bear on his own. That is where Bridges To America comes in.

In the true spirit of the American Dream, Dickson has told me that he can't go back to Nigeria because he has to move forward. Coming to America is about moving forward because that is what we do here. However, he recognizes that he can't move fully forward without his family. Thus his American Dream is only 25% fulfilled. Once he is joined by his wife and two sons it will be 100% complete and they can start to lead a productive life as a part of the American fabric contributing fresh enthusiasm and respect for the tremendous opportunities that many of us enjoy but too often take for granted.

Those of you who know me will recall that several years ago my family and I had the unique privilege of assisting a political refugee from Africa become reunited with his six children and beautiful wife in California. After two years of heart-wrenching separation it is hard to find the words to describe the joy of watching this good man embrace his children that he thought he might never see again.

Fast forward to today and this amazing family, the Fayani Family, is living a productive, independent, and healthy life in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a testament to the goodness of the father of this family, Joachim, and his sincere desire to share his happiness with others, it was he who made me aware of Dickson's story. After first speaking to Dickson I knew right away that he is a good man who merely wants to be reunited with his family and I also knew that I could not simply stand by and wish him good luck.

Accordingly, we have formed a non-profit called Bridges To America Inc. to help Dickson's family immediately and put the infrastructure in place to be ready to help others in the same situation in the near future.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 which will allow us to bring these family members here to the US and get them ready for their new life in the USA. All donations collected will be used to pay for travel expenses directly for the benefit of Dickson's family and any overage will be used for the next deserving family.

Would you please give what you can to help us reunite this family and help them fulfill their American Dream? Please click on the link in the upper right corner of this page and give what you can. Every little bit helps.

Bridges To America Inc. has applied for 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service which will make your donation tax deductible.