News / USA

Immigrant's Success in US Creates Great Opportunities for Many

Immigrant's Success Creates Abundant Opportunities for Many Othersi
X
June 21, 2013 8:54 PM
America is often called “The Land of Opportunity.” And in 2011 alone, more than a million immigrants became permanent residents on the path to citizenship. Many come to the U.S. to escape hardships where they live, and some to give their children better opportunities. But for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the United States sometimes helps them realize their dreams. And when that happens, it can change other people's lives as well. Arash Arabasadi of VOA's Persian News Network has one example.

Immigrant's Success Creates Abundant Opportunities for Many Others

Arash Arabasadi
America is often called “The Land of Opportunity.” And in 2011 alone, more than a million immigrants became permanent residents on the path to citizenship. Many come to the U.S. to escape hardships where they live, and some to give their children better opportunities. But for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the United States sometimes helps them realize their dreams. And when that happens, it can change other people's lives as well.

What you’re looking at is the 'American Dream.' Ali Saifi left Iran nearly 40 years ago to start a life in the United States.  

“It’s a most interesting country because it allows you to do what you want to do,” he said.

What he wanted to do was open a restaurant. So in 1981 he did just that, acquiring a Subway franchise in Greenville, South Carolina.

“This is the very first Subway that we opened in Greenville 30 years ago,” said Saifi as he shows the store.

Today he has more than 400 stores.  

“400 restaurants employ nearly 4,000 people.”

The payroll for those 4,000 people is an estimated $40 million. And the taxes they pay on that money are about $6 million.

“Then there’s a significant amount of non-direct employees. The food distributor. The truck driver. The packers. All of these people that we buy products from and they deliver to us,” said Saifi.

That’s the other part of the American Dream. The dream that one man’s success can help others realize their dreams, too.

“This store is a lot more to me than just my job. It’s kind of part of my life,” said Lakim Campbell, who manages one of the Subway restaurants for Saifi.

She joined Subway a couple of years ago as an employee earning the minimum wage.

“Three months after starting I became pregnant, and I was out three weeks and I came back. I started right back where I left off,” she said.

Campbell worked her way up to a manager's job.

And with management, came benefits like paid vacations, paid sick days, and healthcare.  

“It was really great for me. To be able to get insurance, to be able to go to the doctor whenever I need to, and not whenever I could afford to,” she said.

And not just for Campbell, but health benefits for her newborn child, and a roof over both of their heads. Now, multiply that by 4,000, and that’s the type of impact this one man has had.  

But not every shop Saifi opens is a financial success.

“He was willing to take a chance on a restaurant that perhaps profits were going to take a second place to people,” said Crystal Hardesty. She’s the regional marketing director for Goodwill Industries. It's a non-profit organization that trains people for low paying, entry level jobs.
 
Saifi helped Goodwill open a Subway restaurant within the store to prepare people for jobs in the food service industry.

“A lot of us see a job as something simple. Perhaps we take it for granted. But for a lot of people that really is something that they perhaps thought was unattainable, and, when they have that, it really changes their whole outlook on life,” said Hardesty.

“They train people less fortunate than the rest of us… the people that you and I would typically not hire. With a checkered past or maybe abused, battered women. This is an entity that gives you a hand up, not a handout,” said Saifi.

During its 2012 fiscal year, the Greenville Goodwill helped find jobs for nearly 7,300 people - people who otherwise might have depended on taxpayer-funded assistance programs. Instead, they collectively earned more than $75 million. All because of help from one man who came to the United States chasing his own dream.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lance Johnson from: USA
June 22, 2013 12:33 PM
An interesting new worldwide book/ebook that helps explain the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants and minorities is "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” It paints a revealing picture of America for those who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also informs those who want to learn more about the last remaining superpower and how we compare to other nations on many issues.
As the book points out, immigrants and minorities are a major force in America, as Mr. Romney and the GOP recently discovered. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation’s population growth and own 11 percent of US businesses and are 60 percent more likely to start a new business than native-born Americans. They represent 17 percent of all new business owners (in some states more than 30 percent). Foreign-born business owners generate nearly one-quarter of all business income in California and nearly one-fifth in New York, Florida, and New Jersey. In fact, forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by an immigrant or a son of an immigrant, making for 10 million jobs and seven out of ten top brands in our country.
They come to improve their lives and create a foundation of success for their children to build upon, as did the author’s grandparents when they landed at Ellis Island in 1899 after losing 2 children to disease on a cramped cattle car-like sailing from Europe to the Land of Opportunity. Many bring skills and a willingness to work hard to make their dreams a reality, something our founders did four hundred years ago. In describing America, chapter after chapter chronicles “foreigners” who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance in Anytown, USA. Perhaps intelligent immigration reform, White House/Congress and business/labor cooperation, concerned citizens and books like this can extend a helping hand, the same unwavering hand that has been the anchor and lighthouse of American values for four hundred years.
Here’s a closing quote from the book’s Intro: “With all of our cultural differences though, you’ll be surprised to learn how much…we as human beings have in common on this little third rock from the sun. After all, the song played at our Disneyland parks around the world is ‘It’s A Small World After All.’ Peace.” www.AmericaAtoZ.com

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid