When people find out I work with refugees and asylees, two things almost always happen. One...they say something like, "That must be so rewarding." (It definitely is, even with all the challenges in the field of immigration). Two...they then ask, "How can I get involved, how can I help?"
Now, obviously volunteering is a great way to start, but I know not everyone can do that, so here are the three things everyone can do no matter where they are.
1. Stuff Matters:
Our awesome team here is able to get the basics to newcomers really quickly when they arrive, but often we get requests for things above and beyond the basics like computers, bike locks, and Starbucks gift cards (everyone likes coffee). While you're doing your holiday shopping you can purchase these items right off our Amazon registry here and have them shipped directly to families via our office.
2. Raise Your Voice:
Every year I take refugees and asylees to meet with their representatives at the capital in Olympia, WA. It's one of my favorite events of the year, partly because I'm a big civics nerd, and partly because I get to see people who were often kicked out of their country by those in power now meeting directly members of the government here. They get to teach our government officials about their stories, their families, and how the government can make decisions that help lift up their communities. You can join in advocating with them for policies that matter here.
3. Cash is King:
At the end of the day, one of the greatest needs to get families off on the right track is financial support for their basic needs. World Relief helps pays rent, utilities, bus fare, etc. while families are on our programs. This frees people up to focus on their long term success, like improving their English in our classes and finding their first jobs here with our employment team. You can give directly to those programs today.
I am continually thankful for all of our volunteers, supporters and friends who use their time, talents and resources to make Washington a welcoming place for our newest neighbors.
SCOTT ELLIS - OUTREACH MANAGER
Originally from Washington, Scott is has been with World Relief Seattle since 2010. Scott engages the local community to see refugees and marginalized communities empowered for community, growth, and transformation.