Rochester woman honored at White House - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester woman honored at White House


WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Fatima Said is receiving the Welcoming America Champions of Change award from the White House. She's one of 10 people from across the country being honored for their efforts.

"Fatima is an incredibly strategic thinker and is very, very, very committed to our mission," said Program Manager Katie van Eijl.

She is the executive director of Project FINE, a non-profit organization in Winona and St. Charles, that helps with government services and translation for refugees and immigrants.

"Everyone looks at Fatima; she's just one of the best. You know, talk about a true leader within a community. She's one of those people that everyone looks up to and works well with, " said County Administrator Duane Hebert.

The awards ceremony was streamed live from the White House and was watched all over the world.

The purpose of this national award is to highlight people that work to integrate new citizens civically, linguistically, and socially into the fabric of their neighborhoods.

"We're working together to improve the quality of life for all the people in Winona County," Hebert said.

"Last year we won Minnesota nonprofit of the year, and this year, you know, this award. So it's fantastic and we're very proud of the organization," said Board of Directors member Bill Spitzer.

It is a small town organization, being honored in a very big way.

van Eijl said, "I don't even think we realize yet how big it is. But it's just a great honor, and it's wonderful."

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