Thursday, November 19, 2015
How you can help refugees coming into the U.S.--Syrian or otherwise
The events and news of the last few months, and specifically of the last few days, regarding refugees and their plight has motivated many people to ask how they can help.
We are tremendously grateful for this outpouring of compassion and desire to take action. The ultimate key to success in the refugee resettlement program is integration. That's a two-way process that must include willing participation from the receiving community.
Since so many have inquired about how to help and what's needed at this time, here is what you can do:
If you live outside of Colorado (we'll list Colorado resources separately), contact your state refugee coordinator. Every state has one and the office should be listed within your state government's online directory. When you are connected, ask which agencies are providing refugee resettlement assistance in your area.
Typically, resettlement agencies and partner programs need new or gently used household goods in good condition such as furniture, towels, sheets, dishes, cooking utensils, lamps(!) and light bulbs, and toiletries. They need employers who are willing to hire refugees, and landlords who will waive traditional requirements for new residents such as credit history or minimum income thresholds. They need volunteers to set up apartments, pick up refugees arriving at the airport, and mentors to help refugee families find their way in a new and unfamiliar culture. Many agencies are looking for good (clean, not damaged or tattered) winter coats, socks, hats, scarves and gloves at this time of year.
All agencies will have volunteer coordinators and donations coordinators who can explain their needs and processes to you.
If you're in Colorado, here is a partial list of organizations that can use your help:
We have two resettlement agencies in our state, ACC and LFS:
Lutheran Family Services: 303-980-5400, www.lfsrm.org/refugee-asylee/program-volunteer Their Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/RockyMtnRefugee/
African Community Center: 303-399-4500, www.acc-den.org Their Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/African-Community-Center-of-Denver-220686981281799/
ACC also houses a sewing job training program for recently arrived refugee women. You can find information about We Made This here: www.wemadethis.com and on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/wemadethisdenver/
No One Left Behind works with Afghan and Iraqi families that worked side-by-side with the U.S. military in those countries. Many of the men worked as interpreters, cultural trainers, and liaisons between U.S. military and local groups. http://www.nooneleft.org/ In Colorado, contact firstname.lastname@example.org You can find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NoOneLeftBehindUS/
If you’re interested in helping in the English language program, please visit www.refugee-esl.org. volunteers can assist in adult ESL classrooms at Emily Griffith Technical College or be one-to-one in-home tutors. You’re probably reading this post on our Facebook page, but if it was forwarded, you can find us at https://www.facebook.com/Colorado-Refugee-ESL-Volunteers-116894935016615/
Project Worthmore works with refugees from Burma who have resettled in the Denver area. They offer a variety of programs, including English classes, a farming project, food bank, dental care and more. You can reach them through their website: https://www.projectworthmore.org/ You’ll find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Project-Worthmore-155765944465000/
Growing Colorado Kids works on a sustainable farming project with refugee youth in the Denver area. The kids learn teamwork, how to grow vegetables using organic techniques, cooking and proper nutrition. There’s always something needed at the farm, including transportation to get the kids there and volunteers to help keep everything running smoothly. Contact email@example.com or visit their website at http://www.growingcolorado.org/ On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrowingColoradoKIDS/
A Little Something: Denver Refugee Crafts is a crafts collective that works with refugee women in the Denver area. A Little Something participants learn to make jewelry, or to knit or weave. The women earn supplemental income from these projects while building confidence, self-esteem, community, and financial literacy. www.refugeecrafts.org firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/refugeecrafts/