Yam teaching sign language at Intra-National Homecare.

Yam’s Empowering Journey to America

Meet Yam! Courage, perseverance and kindness best describe his infectious personality. Born in Bhutan, Yam grew up with hearing difficulties and spent over two decades in a refugee camp. It is difficult to imagine what life must’ve been like for him at that time. Damodar Timsina, also once a refugee and Yam’s Summit DD Service and Support Administrator (SSA), shared his own experience. “It is really a great privilege to come to the USA for a better life. Refugee life is really, really worse. We sometimes didn’t have anything to eat. We didn’t have shelter,” somberly shared Damodar.

Nine years ago, Yam made his journey to America. He quickly learned American Sign Language (ASL) and sought out ways to help other refugees. He began working at Intra-National Home Care where he taught others how to sign and communicate. His classes teach the ASL alphabet, helpful phrases, and even traffic light/sign safety information.

As Yam’s Summit DD SSA, Damodar Timsina helps him set and reach his goals. Recently, Yam worked hard to receive his drivers license and used his hard-earned paycheck to buy a car. Yam has now set his sights on buying a house. “I wish a really good future for him! I can help if there is anything he needs,” happily shared Damodar. Both Yam and Damodar have created a beautiful cycle of kindness and compassion. They pushed through immeasurable obstacles and are now helping others make the same journey. “I am happy in America,” proudly shared Yam.

This year, Yam was awarded Summit DD’s coveted Carlene Weaver Achievement Award after being nominated by Damodar. This award honors an individual with developmental disabilities whose actions or self-advocacy help change perceptions or bring about positive awareness for those with developmental disabilities in their community.

Meet both Yam and Damodar in the spotlight video below!

Yam and his Summit DD SSA Damodar.Yam teaching sign language at Intra-National Homecare.Yam teaching sign language at Intra-National Homecare.Yam teaching sign language at Intra-National Homecare.Yam receiving his Carlene Weaver Achievement Award at the Summit DD Awards Breakfast.

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