How Canopy NWA Supports Refugees
Canopy’s mission is to provide a robust network of support for refugees resettling in Northwest Arkansas. Our vision is to not only meet their basic needs, but to equip them with the tools to thrive as active members of the NWA community.
When a refugee arrives in Northwest Arkansas, they often have nothing; no place to live, no friends, little information on how to buy food, or where to find the nearest healthcare facility. Many of these refugees don’t speak English. They also may have no clue what to do with their trash, how to mail a letter, or how health insurance works. The life they had built for themselves in their home country has been shattered; nothing is the same here.
As a resettlement center, it is up to Canopy to provide them with everything they need to build a new life. They need a place to live, schools for their kids, language classes, doctors, lawyers, counselors, and babysitters. Some of the most basic needs are food, medication, and clothes until they’re able to supply those things for themselves. Canopy creates access to all of these things.
Meeting these needs is an expensive endeavor for any organization. Canopy will receive some funds from the state and federal governments for every refugee taken in, but they won’t be nearly enough to cover all of the costs. That’s why we need you to partner with us. Click here to find out all the ways you can help.
Education And Job Training
Many things refugees were forced to leave behind hard-earned careers when they fled their homes. Some may have worked their whole lives to get to advanced employment positions or retirement, while others may have just begun their careers. When refugees arrive here, they often find that their degrees mean nothing, their job experience counts for little, or they are considered too old to hire. While refugees often have great skills to offer and are willing to work hard to earn a living, they have limited information on where to start looking for a job.
Canopy is committed to walking alongside Arkansas’ newest residents until they’ve found a stable source of income. Additionally, Canopy will help refugees learn English, put together a resume, evaluate their degree, and prepare for the American workforce. Canopy will also provide training on the interview process as well as key cultural features of the American work ethic. Another important intervention Canopy will focus on is leveraging refugees’ unique skill-sets and experiences to place them in jobs that are both stable and meaningful. If they want to start their own business, or want their children to attend college, Canopy will help them make that happen. Above all, Canopy aims to place refugees on a track to pursue their vision for a new life in the US.
If you are a part of an organization offering ESL classes, job training, or job placement services for adults, contact us so we can connect you to refugees who need your help.
Out of all the ways Canopy helps, building community relationships is perhaps the most important. Community is the foundation of what makes a place to live a home. Without a strong sense of connection to the world around them, refugees cannot build a new life here. For this reason, Canopy is committed to helping refugee families develop lasting relationships with the people of NWA.
Canopy accomplishes this with the help of co-sponsors, which are made up of individuals, congregations, or organizations who commit to walking with a refugee family throughout their first six months in NWA. Our co-sponsors visit the family regularly, invite them to community events, bring them to things like baseball games, art museums, or meals at their house. Co-sponsors are the refugee family’s first friends and serve as their link to the community.
If your congregation or organization is interested in co-sponsoring a family, read through our Co-Sponsorship Handbook.