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Meelia Center at Saint Anselm College Reunites Liberian Family

October 05, 2012

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing
603-641-7242

On Thursday, Oct. 4 at 10:36 p.m. after two delayed flights and seven anxious hours, Doris Zinnah finally reunited with her two daughters Cynthia and Jearus after more than a decade apart. #safeathome

"This is the forever day.
I will always remember it."

Zinnah was separated from her family during Liberia's civil war and believed that her children and husband were dead. With the help of Child Health Services and the Meelia Center for Community Engagement at Saint Anselm College, Doris' family is together again.

Zinnah lived in a refugee camp in Liberia for several years before being relocated to Manchester, N.H. in 2003. When she learned her daughters were living with their paternal grandmother in Liberia, she began working to unite them. In 2011, she became a United States citizen and was granted two visas for her daughters to join her in the United States.

A Saint Anselm student, Peter Clark '12, interning in Senator Jeanne Shaheen's office learned that the family needed assistance purchasing plane tickets by the visas' expiration date, and brought it to the attention of Dan Forbes, the director of the Meelia Center.

The Meelia Center sponsored the daughters' tickets and is planning a college-wide whiffle ball tournament on Nov. 3 to cover the cost of the flights as well as additional funds for much needed learning supplies, clothes and other essentials for the daughters.

Whiffle ball teams fundraise for the event through donations and sponsorships. Those interested in sponsoring a team or contributing can contact the Meelia Center at 603-641-7108 or meeliacenter@anselm.edu. The tournament is open to the public.

This year's event marks the 20th year of campus whiffle ball tournaments led by the Meelia Center.

Six Saint Anselm students and Meelia Center Director Dan Forbes waited with the family for the girls' arrival. Also included was nurse practictioner, Susan McKeown, of Saint Anselm College's class of 1970, who works for Child Health Services and is the primary health care provider for Doris and her family.

The day was exciting for all involved but more so for Doris Zinnah who said, "This is the forever day. I will always remember it."

See WMUR's news coverage on YouTube.