Community Ambassadors

Our Community Ambassadors are members from several New American communities trained and employed by CVOEO in financial education. They provide interpretation for one-on-one financial coaching appointments, business development counseling appointments, culturally responsive classes on credit, banking, and saving, and facilitate financial house parties.

Empowering New Americans

Are you a newcomer, such as a refugee, asylee, immigrant, or naturalized citizen, looking to make your life in Vermont? Are you interested in learning about the services available at CVOEO? Connect with our Community Ambassadors. Ambassadors will help you learn about the wide range of services accessible through our nine programs. We are listing some of them here, but this list is not exhaustive:

Access to housing financial assistance, heat and fuel assistance with our Community Action Network, food assistance through our Feeding Chittenden Program, early care and education programs, including preschool, infants/toddlers, home visiting, and pregnancy services through our Champlain Valley Head Start Program, audits, assessments and installation of new appliances heating systems through our Weatherization Program, and also access to our two shelters in the Franklin and Grand Island counties for the survivors of domestic violence at the Laurie House, and for the homeless experiencing emergency housing needs, at the Tim's House.

Community Ambassadors will also help you navigate our Housing Advocacy Programs to learn how to address housing discrimination, access rapid re-housing vouchers for families experiencing homelessness, and learn about our Mobile Home Program and tenants' rights. The Ambassadors will finally help you navigate our Financial Futures Programs, which include education on managing money, starting a business, or building your credit and savings.

Community Ambassadors, additionally, run specific activities, such as:

  • House parties where participants benefit from a wide range of resource navigation. During these meetings, you will meet others who speak your language, understand your history, and share your goals to achieve your full potential in the U.S.

  • Language and cultural brokering support during workshops, coaching and/or counseling sessions

  • Translation and Interpretation services, including class interpretation for CVOEO and other partners.

  • Special projects upon request

Meet our team:
Picture of Gita, Nepali Community Ambassador

Gita Dhakal (Nepali)

I was born in Bhutan in 1980. I spent my childhood in Bhutan. Due to political issues, me and my family came to Nepal in 1994 and we stayed there for 17 years in a refugee camp. I got education in the refugee camp. I worked as assistant shop keeper at the Lutheran World Federation for 4 years. After that I was a high school teacher for 4 years. In 2011 my family and I came to the US to settle down through the IOM program. I started work right away and I am working at UVM. I started to work at CVOEO in 2016 as Community Ambassador for the Nepali Community.

Picture of Bhagawat, Nepali Community Ambassador

Bhagawat Pudyel (Nepali)

  • Born in Bhutan and served as mailman, moved to Nepal in 1992
  • Social worker and education field in Nepal
  • Moved to the USA
  • Currently employed by UVM

Interpreter at USCRI-VT - Nepali

Picture of Hawa, Maay Maay Community Ambassador

Hawa Sheikh (Maay Maay)

My name is Hawa Sheikh, I am a Community Ambassador at CVOEO. I am from Somalia but I was born in Kenya, I came to the United States in 2004. We landed in Arizona and lived there for a while then moved to Buffalo, NY. I lived in Buffalo for many years with my parents and siblings but shortly after my wedding I moved to Vermont with husband to start a new life with him. I still live in Vermont with my 4 children and husband. My hobbies are: having fun with my little family, going out to eat, and going to fun places such as the beach.

Picture of Yasmin, Somali and Maay Maay Community Ambassador

Yasmin Mohamed (Somali and Maay Maay)

My name is Yasmin and I am currently employed at CVOEO. I was born in Somalia and raised in Kenya at a refugee camp. I came to Vermont in 2005 and got married and moved to Seattle with my husband and lived there for 3 years and came back to Vermont. Now I live in Vermont with my 5 amazing kids and my husband. Beside my job with CVOEO, I work as a community support at Howard Center, on-call interpreter at the Burlington School District, and as Somali Bantu community on-call interpreter.

Picture of Hadija, Swahili Community Ambassador

Hadija Huwizeye (Swahili)

I consider myself to be a passionate community servant with the ability to motivate and inspire individuals in identifying their potential to continue and share this passion to serve others. With this ongoing quest to give, I have been able to promote significant, positive change in communities and individuals through advocacy, empowered by compassion. I take pride in engaging in a civically based approach to community building as I committed to a life-long service based on personal and professional experiences.

Picture of Lorena, Spanish Community Ambassador

Lorena Neironi Rossi (Spanish)

Hola! My name is Lorena Neironi Rossi born and raised in the north of Argentina. I am a Lawyer graduated from UNNE ( Universidad Nacional del Nordeste). Once stablished in Vermont I worked for a local Bank for 10 years as a loan officer and left the position to raise my 3 kids. I continued my education with Business classes at CCV, got my Insurance License and worked in that field for 2 years. After that I pursued a long time dream and with my partner opened a Latin Catering food service that gave us the possibility to connect directly with our community, share our passion for food and introduce our culture. As a Community Ambassador is my goal to be able to serve the Spanish speaking communities and any other underrepresented/undeserved communities if needed. Muchas Gracias


Shiferaw Gemeda, Associate Director
802-860-1417 X117

To connect with a Community Ambassador, call and leave a message with your name, number, and language.