3 Ways YOU Can Help Welcome Refugees in 2019

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Happy New Year, everyone! We have so much to look forward to in 2019 as a Canopy community:

·  As many as 56 new refugees will be joining us this year, from all over the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and others.

· As of this month, we are now certified to assist our refugee clients—and any of our other immigrant friends and neighbors—in applying for and maintaining legal immigration status and reconnecting with family members.

· Thanks to our amazing community partners, we’ll be able to offer our families community workshops, health literacy seminars and activities, women’s empowerment programs and more.

And that’s just a sneak peak of all that’s come—we’ll have a full post for you about our plans for 2019 soon.

Bottom line: it’s going to be a full, exciting year for our community, our refugee families and our organization and there are LOTS of ways for you to get involved right from the start!

Here are 3 ways you can help welcome refugees in 2019, starting TODAY, right here in Northwest Arkansas:

  1. Form a co-sponsor team. You can form a team from your workplace, your school, your church—or just a group of your friends. We’ll match you with a refugee family in our pipeline and you’ll join us in preparing for their arrival. Once they’re here, you’ll become their first friends and you’ll mentor them for the first six months in the country as they learn how to navigate their new community, get plugged into resources and find jobs. This is a life-changing, life-giving experience that you do not want to miss! If this sounds like it might be for you, email Lauren Snodgrass at lauren.snodgrass@canopynwa.org to sign up for our next co-sponsor training on February 2.

  2. Mentor a refugee child in our after-school program. The After School Buddies Program needs volunteers for the spring semester! You will be matched with a refugee student and will meet with them one afternoon a week to work on English, learn about US culture, help them with their homework and mentor them. This program is run by Students for Refugees at the University of Arkansas, but you do not need to be a college student to volunteer. Anyone 18 and older is welcome to apply. If you are interested, please email Amanda Fleming at agf001@email.uark.edu for more information.

  3. Join us in advocating for refugees on Capitol Hill! Two years into this work, we can see how much value refugees bring to our community in Northwest Arkansas. We need YOU to help us share those stories with our lawmakers in Washington DC to ensure that refugees are allowed to continue arriving here in the years to come. The future of the refugee resettlement program is in peril: we went from receiving 85,000 refugees in 2016 to 22,000 refugees in 2018.  And meanwhile, the number of refugees in need of new homes is going up—not down. We have jobs for them here, co-sponsors ready to help them integrate and a community of established former refugees to show them the way. All we need is for our lawmakers to keep the door open for them to come here. Help us make that happen by joining us in Washington DC! Find out more about the trip HERE—then join us at one of two information sessions we have coming up January 16 and 17.

2019 is the perfect year for YOU to start playing an active role in welcoming refugees to our wonderful community. Help us change the lives of our refugee families, strengthen our community and grow our impact. We promise you’ll never be the same.