Refugee Sponsorship (Good Neighbor Program) update as of November 14, 2018
In light of the administration’s actions surrounding refugees and immigrants, and especially the historically low number of refugees to be resettled during FY2019, the interchurch planning team has determined that it would be prudent to look into alternative ways to support refugee and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) families in our community. It has come to our attention that the needs of already resettled families as they adjust to life here in the United States persist beyond the first 90-day window during which resettlement agencies typically offer the bulk of their services and case management. Of course, there are many new components for individuals and families to contend with that begin within the first 90 days of arriving in the U.S., inevitably and understandably, they carry on long beyond that.
Because of this recognition, we have decided to shift our focus from supporting one newly arriving family, to instead support several families that are already part of our communities. The families we seek to support are those that need ongoing help with things like tutoring for kids, ESL instruction for adults, transportation, and financial literacy. Lutheran Social Services (LSS) has recently started a “Homework Club” program where volunteers tutor both kids and parents – kids are helped with homework and parents are given mentorship in English and in general. Inspired by this, the planning team has decided to work in partnership with LSS and setup something similar to happen one to two times monthly at Peace Lutheran because of its location in relevance to several families. The volunteer roles we previously communicated would thus be slightly adjusted to accommodate this new focus; for example, we would not need help with apartment setup, but we may still need apartment supplies from time to time as needs become known. Additionally, though the focus of our work seems to be evolving, we are still interested in sponsoring a family at a time in the future, as the overall resettlement process opens up and at a time when a match may be made. We remain thankful for our partnerships and support from Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) and LSS.
Next Steps: Attend a mandatory LSS training and background check session on November 28 from 7-8:30 at Little River United Church of Christ (meet and greet from 7-7:30). Background checks are $20.25 and must be completed before contact with families can be made – we have limited funds and appreciate anyone who is willing to cover the cost of their own background check. More information on how to proceed with a background check will be made known at the training. Please RSVP for the training on November 28 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; if you cannot make that date but still have an interest in being part of this effort, please note that in a quick email to the above address.
Thank you for your continued support and interest!