Family ServicesNewcomers often face a myriad of challenges as they work hard to resettle their families in America. Sometimes life presents itself with even more challenges on top of what challenges newcomers were already having such as a pregnancy, a life threatening illness, loss of job, a death in the family, a car wreck, a separation or divorce, lack of medical insurance, etc. These additional challenges cause even more hardship on a family and can be a reason a client gets “stuck” unable to progress with their successful resettlement. Asha’s Refuge works in collaboration with other organizations to help newcomers complete enrollment requirements, required forms and navigate through the many systems to find an appropriate and satisfying solution that gives hope to those with desperate needs.
Immigration ServicesImmigrants who have a true refugee status have a US I94 document and Social Security Card that allows them to freely work in the US. Refugees, have on average waited for 10 years, waiting on the proper required paperwork approvals to have a legal status to be in the US. They have been vetted and documented, have rights here in the US and are given a pathway to apply for a permanent resident (Greencard) and official US citizenship. Often times local and state agencies, companies and HR departments are not fully aware of the differences in a person’s refugee immigration status verses an immigrant that is undocumented. A person that has refugee or assylee status has legal documentation to verify this. Asha’s Refuge works in collaboration with community immigration and legal agencies and the State Immigration Department to help educate and raise awareness in our community about the rights of refugees and assylees. Asha’s advocates for the most vulnerable newcomers in our city and assists them with completing their required routine immigration forms that keeps them on a path to a successful resettlement.
Learning Time ManagementFor many refugees, the ability to prioritize and manage daily activities according to a clock is a new concept. Being on time to classes, to doctor’s appointments, to a child’s school meeting, to a job or job interview and scheduling time during the day to complete all their new responsibilities is a concept that is a challenge. Many of the cultures that refugees come from do not have the same American concept of “time management”. Learning these skills for newcomers is pertinent to their success here in America. While we do not wish to change a refugees sweet perspective on their priority of family and friendly values or push them into a whirlwind of having no unscheduled time (as many of our time stressed American’s have), we do want them to understand the importance and value of managing their time wisely as they reach for a successful resettlement here in the States. Asha’s Refuge walks along side of our clients teaching them problem solving skills with regards to their time management. This requires quality time spent with refugees. We need volunteers willing to mentor individuals helping them to understand this skill.
TransportationTransportation is almost always an issue for newcomers. We are in need of volunteers willing to help refugees understand the driver’s handbook so that they can take their drivers permit test. We need volunteers who are willing to help transport refugees to and from the doctor, to school, to work, to important appointments, to job interviews, to the pharmacy, etc. As you drive, we hope that you will develop a friendship with our clients teaching them good habits and good driving skills. There is a lot of driving vocabulary you can talk about while driving. Your help with transportation in so many areas is vital to a refugee’s successful resettlement.
Understanding MailMany of our clients do not have English skills. They also do not have the American Life skills necessary to understand a lot of their mail. For example, if a newcomer were to receive a letter in the mail telling them that their light, gas and water was going to be “cut-off”, they may toss the letter to the side not realizing what this means. When their utilities are cut off it sends them into a panic. With no English skills to understand their mail and no American Life Skills to understand the processes we would typically go through to solve this life’s little problem, they are often put into an emotional crisis mode. We can help by encouraging our friends to understand the importance of trying to read and understand their mail. We need volunteers who are willing to make friends with our clients helping them to understand and organize their mail and important household papers better. Someone who has good organizational skills and can teach refugees a filing system to manage their bills and papers is needed.
English Communication & ConverstationWe need volunteers who are willing to sit with small groups of refugees who are learning English and promote good communication through everyday conversation. We suggest coffee/tea time so that volunteers can build relationships with their group of new friends helping to build their confidence and self-esteem so that they feel more comfortable trying to verbalize their needs, thoughts and feelings. We envision the conversations being centered on a variety of topics important to the particular group of men, women or teenagers. Perhaps a group of teenagers will discuss how to deal with bully’s at school. Perhaps a group of women will talk about potty training their child or getting children to sleep through the night. Maybe a group of men will talk about agriculture in America or (hmmm, what do men talk about??)…sports and fishing.
American School Supply NeedsWe need volunteers to pull together the typical school supplies that are always needed each year in American schools and could also be used in our American Life and Language Classes at Asha’s Refuge. Each summer during the first week of August, we deliver over 100 backpacks filled with school supplies so that every student will have the supplies needed to start out their new school year. Help with collecting, sorting, stuffing the backpacks and delivering them is always helpful. Please check our calendar for the date of the delivery in August for this project each year. It takes a while to collect all these supplies so volunteer participation through the year is a good thing! This is a good group project. School uniforms in all sizes is also a good thing for us to collect and deliver. While we cannot promise to provide a school uniform for everyone, we can sometimes help. Tan/Khaki pants and long skirts with white polos are what is needed.
Understanding Community ResourcesThere are many community resources that are available to our friends but they do not know it. We need volunteer professionals willing to encourage and educate our students about their area of expertise. We need: Police Officers, Postmen/Women, Firefighters, Hotel Workers, Staffing Services, Immigration Attorneys, Medical Personal for Healthy Habits teaching (doctors, nurses, dentist), Counselors, Apartment Managers, Driver Education Instructors, Fitness Instructors, Nutritionist and Chefs, Accountants (very basic finance), artist, zookeepers, librarians, coupon professionals…and the list goes on. If you have a unique career that it might be beneficial and educational for our students to hear from you, please volunteer with us to help teach our students important and helpful things to know about their community.
Career Coaching / Job ApplicationsWe need volunteers who are willing to coach newcomers through the processes of applying for and interviewing for jobs. Volunteers will be willing to search for jobs that would be suitable for our clients, help them apply for the job which often means completing online applications, learning to dress appropriately for the interview and coaching them on how the interview process may go as far as the typical way Americans interview for jobs. Career Coach Volunteers will help Asha’s Refuge to better develop this area of our organization to the benefit of our clients.
Developing HobbiesAmericans often have different hobbies than refugees. We want to introduce new hobbies to our clients or help to develop the hobbies they already have. Many times, the development of a hobby could end up starting a microbusiness that will help to provide for their family or supplement their monthly income. Even if the hobby does not bring in extra income, it is good for our clients to have hobbies so that their free time is spent doing things productive which can sometimes help to reduce stress. Examples of Hobbies: Arts/Crafts, Sewing, gardening, fishing, wood working, etc.