Deborah Hlavna (Co-Director)
Deborah Hlavna is a co-director at the Refugee Center. She received her Bachelor's degree in Accounting and a PhD in Education both from the University of Illinois. Before becoming an employee at the Refugee Center, Deborah spent two years in Barbados as a Peace Corps volunteer. On top of her duties as a co-director, she offers direct services as needed. Some of the services that Deborah provides to her clients include help with immigration forms, and assistance accessing public aid. For Deborah, the best part of her job is the people, including her nice and caring co-workers and her clients. She enjoys working and interacting with diverse individuals and families.
Ha Ho (Co-Director and French, Vietnamese, and German Interpreter)
Ha Ho is a multilingual co-director at ECIRMAC who speaks fluent English, Vietnamese, French, and conversational Spanish and German. She loves the Refugee Center because she is committed to serving clients and helping them to overcome life’s challenges, and she appreciates the atmosphere and camaraderie at the Center. As a former refugee herself, she is uniquely situated to advocate for this vulnerable population.
Guadalupe Abreu (Bilingual Counselor and Spanish Interpreter)
Guadalupe Abreu, born in Mexico, is a bilingual outreach counselor who speaks Spanish and English. Guadalupe completed her Bachelor's degree in Spanish Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and then began her career teaching Spanish at Champaign High School and Urbana Middle School prior to coming to the Refugee Center in 1999. Among the services she provides are: translation and interpretation, and assistance with immigration paperwork and processes. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her granddaughters and her pet Shitzu.
Mayte Baixeras (Bilingual Counselor and Spanish Interpreter)
Mayte is a bilingual counselor at the Refugee Center who speaks Spanish and English. Currently she is leading the Refugee Center's campaign for "Get Covered Illinois" in conjunction with the Department of Human Services (DHS). She appreciates the opportunity to work directly with clients in order to assist them in adjusting to life in the U.S.
Van Tran (Bilingual Counselor and Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin Interpreter)
Van Tran is a multilingual counselor who speaks Vietnamese, English, Cantonese and Mandarin. She loves working at the Refugee Center because it allows her the opportunity to use her knowledge of languages to help others, while also proving an environment where she can learn new things every day. She also loves having friendly coworkers, who are all similarly committed to helping others. Prior to working at the Refugee Center, Van was a school aide in the Champaign Preschool. Some of Van's specialties include helping immigrant children with schoolwork and serving as a medical interpreter for her clients. In Van's spare time you can find her listening to music, singing, dancing, cooking, and working hard on improving her English language skills.
Ut Ha (Bilingual Counselor and Vietnamese Interpreter)
Ut Ha is a counselor who speaks Vietnamese, English, and a little bit of French. Ut studied for two years at a University in Vietnam before coming to the U.S., and then became a teacher's aide at Urbana Middle School. At the Refugee Center, she provides translation, interpretation, mediation, and counseling services. Ut enjoys that she learns a lot about the medical field while assisting clients at their medical appointments. When Ut is not working, she enjoys cooking and working in her vegetable garden at home.
Djavid Novrouzov (Bilingual Counselor and Russian Interpreter)
Djavid is our bilingual counselor who speaks English and Russian. In addition to working at ECIRMAC, he stays active with the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation.