“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34)….“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Galatians 5:14).

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 amyvt98@gmail.com; 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!


September 2018
We are living in a time of unprecedented disorientation and dislocation for millions of people – people of faith and conscience must do what we can to stop this trend, and we can begin by welcoming those who are arriving in the U.S. to create a new life. To that end, Peace, along with John Calvin Presbyterian Church and Ravensworth Baptist Church, in partnership with Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) and Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) have just finished a series of dinner and film screening events that aimed to educate our communities on the refugee crisis on a macro level, but also the particular ways in which individuals and congregations working with resettlement agencies (LSS/NCA) can support refugees coming to this country. LSS/NCA will be the resettlement agency that connects our group with a family seeking refuge here, through their Good Neighbor Program. ACCA is financially supporting the effort to welcome the family and set them up with assistance for living expenses for the first year of living here. Thank you to both of those organizations for their ongoing work and dedication!

If you are interested if future volunteer training and/or volunteer opportunities, check this page in the future or contact Nadia Fitzcharles.
 

 
 

Learn more about the refugee crisis:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Recommended watching:
 
Visit Amnesty International’s site to see “7 free short films about refugees…”