Eight ways to welcome and help refugees to your community
The single most important factor in ensuring that newcomers to the United States become integrated and self-sufficient members of society is the support of their new community. Your efforts to help refugees matter.
The refugee crisis is not just an international crisis. Over three million refugees have been resettled in the United States. There are refugees and displaced individuals in communities across the United States, in large port cities, as well as more rural communities. These newcomers face significant barriers to integration: barriers that include information overload and confusing information, culture shock and isolation, depression and PTSD.
Integrated communities are resilient communities – resilient against marginalization and isolation on one side, intolerance on the other side, and fear and misunderstanding on both sides.
When refugees do succeed, it makes our communities more vibrant, strengthens our economies, and teaches our children to value diversity.
We hope you will consider donating, volunteering, and advocating for refugees in the United States.
1) Read and learn about individual refugee stories
Read our blog Refugee Voices, where refugee and immigrant authors write about topics that are important to them. Peruse Stronger Shines the Light Inside, with photos and stories of refugees in Boise, Idaho.
2) Become a trained volunteer
3) Listen to the concerns of established residents in your communities
Being a good advocate means listening with respect to the fears and worries of non-welcoming community members.
In response, highlight the positives that immigrants bring with them. Find common ground by identifying similar values that refugees have with non-welcoming community members – work ethic and resilience, religious and traditional societies, family values – and build your advocacy around that. You will find there are plenty of things that some refugee groups have in common with the more conservative Americans, who may resent newcomers simply because they don’t understand them.
4) Use technology
At the RCO, we believe the power of technology can help refugees and displaced individuals successfully integrate. Learn more about our online programs and resources and share with organizations and families in your community.
5) Advocate facts in your community
Reinforce the messaging that welcoming communities are resilient communities. Sometimes redirecting people’s attitudes means giving them some facts and statistics. These reports offer some well-presented state-by-state information about the economic benefits brought by newcomers to the United States.
6) Work with your city and county officials to declare your community a Welcoming City
Welcoming America is a national movement that encourages cities and towns to become more inclusive places.
7) Teach children about refugees both at school and at home
Teaching children about refugees and other social issues is an important thing to do. Read tips on how to talk to your children about refugees.
8) Hire refugees and learn inclusive employment practices
Research shows refugees are very valuable parts of the workforce. Hire them! We are adding refugee-friendly employers to our database. Email your name and company to: firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add you.
Consider ways to support language learning and education for your employees. Your company can give employees time during their work week to earn their GEDs using our free GED preparation course. Find more resources and technical support from our friends at Higher Advantage.
Make a difference in the life of a newcomerVolunteer with RCO
Welcome refugees to your communityVolunteer training
Support programs that help refugees
By donating to the Refugee Center Online, you support technology and education that helps refugees succeed in the USA.Donate today
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