AYCO has been utilizing grass-roots, strengths-based approaches to engage community members from underrepresented, culturally specific populations since 2009. While AYCO does benefit from the involvement of several interns from Portland State University and staff members who aren’t from the African immigrant and refugee population, most of AYCO’s volunteer and staff are from the very population we serve. AYCO staff and volunteers have experienced first-hand the challenge of family members adjusting differently to their new lives in the U.S. Our constituents are welcomed into a culturally and linguistically familiar environment at AYCO, where dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers and staff address the many gaps and challenges to family adaptation, that too often leave new immigrants feeling overwhelmed and marginalized.
The AYCO Board of Directors
AYCO Board Chair
An experienced program manager with almost 20 years management experience, Elizabeh has extensive knowledge on nonprofit management, policy analysis, program evaluation, and volunteer management with a focus on equity and diversity. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Occidental College.
Craig is currently a financial analyst for the City of Portland, with the Office of Management, Grants Management Division. He has been a grants administrator for the past 10 years. Craig has a BSC in accounting from Portland State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Concordia University. One of his passions is helping children gain a sound academic foundation. Other interests include traveling, spending time with family, cooking, and eating great food.
Raife co-founded AYCO and obtained 501(c)3 status for the organization. He serves as AYCO’s legal counsel and secretary, and has maintained AYCO’s compliance with state and federal agencies and taxing authorities, coordinated community events and fundraisers and composed grant applications. Raife is a member of the Oregon State Bar (OSB) and is certified to practice in the Oregon Federal District Court. He is currently co-chair of the OSB New Lawyer Division Pro Bono Subcommittee and is the former chair of the Multnomah Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Service. Raife has worked with Portland’s Somali community on a diverse array of legal issues, from tenant rights to personal injury to family law issues.
Mohamed is a senior software engineer at WebMD Portland. He has been living in Portland, Oregon with his family since 2011. Over the last 18 years, Mohamed has lived in Atlanta, Seattle, Montreal and Portland working for fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Boeing, and Intel. He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Ga. Mohamed speaks English, French, Arabic and Somali fluently. He enjoys outdoors activities in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his kids.
Mohamed is a Somali-American that moved to Portland, Oregon at the age of seven years old. Mohamed Abdulkadir is a Family Coach (Case Manager) with the State of Oregon Department of Human Services. In his role as a family coach he provides person-centered, strength-based supports to assist families in becoming self sufficient. Mohamed is a big believer in the African Youth Community Organization and is a Youth mentor volunteer and basketball coach with the AYCO basketball league. Mohamed Abdulkadir has many years of experience doing community development work with youth and families.
Naariah was born in Chicago, IL, and spent most of her life in Columbus, Ohio. She recently moved to Portland and is a leasing consultant with Affinity Property Management. Naariah has also worked with children as an elementary school teacher. Naariah has a deep commitment to helping others. She was very active in the youth community back in Columbus and she enjoys creating a fun, loving and healthy environment for youth.