Gatluak Thach, the organization's president and CEO, moved to Nashville with his brother from Sudan because of the war. Not even a teenager, Thach was taken to a camp and trained to be a child soldier.
When they first arrived, learning English was difficult for him, but he eventually graduated from college. His own challenges inspired Thach to give back to the community that gave to him.
"I am at where I am because of others. And with that, none of what I've got would satisfy me if others still suffer. I think I need to give back to the community that has done enough for me," he said.
The Nashville International Center for Empowerment has assisted over 10,000 people since its inception in 2005.
The center empowers immigrants by providing them with social services and educational programs. Staff members help them learn English and lend them job assistance.
Thach recognizes the success the center has seen but says there is still a lot that needs to be done.
He has also written a book about his experience, "My New American Dream."