Issues of immigration and refugee resettlement are on our Facebook feeds, in the news and on our students’ minds. Regardless of our political leanings, one direction we can all lean is into deeper conversations with students as we help them process and respond.
Youth Specialties recently had a conversation around immigration and refugee resettlement. We’ve summarized some highlights from the conversation and included the video at this link.
YouthWorks serves alongside a handful of organizations who work with immigrants and refugees. We’ve provided a list below that may be helpful as you consider how you might get involved.
Our hope is that in the midst of political debate and strong opinions, we don’t miss the opportunity to love and serve our neighbors—the people in our country and in our communities who feel afraid, alone and unwanted. We hope you will ask with us, “What can we do?”—but that you will do more than ask by responding with compassionate service.
Organizations To Check Out
This is a list of organizations YouthWorks partners with or has interacted with in some of the communities with whom we serve alongside. If you want to do more to help immigrants and refugees, these may be good places to start.
- Border Angels (San Diego): Border Angels is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to the US-Mexican border. Border Angels engages in community education and awareness programs that include guided trips to the desert to place water along migrant crossing routes as well as trips to the border to learn about the history of US-Mexico border policy and experience the border fence firsthand.
- Broadway Presbyterian Church (Quad Cities): Broadway Presbyterian Church works with refugees by giving them access to fresh produce that is culturally appropriate, providing basic English classes and providing access to basics like clothing.
- World Relief Moline (Quad Cities): World Relief Moline is a not-for-profit agency providing services to refugees and immigrants in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. World Relief’s mission is to serve vulnerable populations in and through partnership with local churches, agencies and the community-at-large. Their programs provide financial, emotional, cultural and spiritual support to refugees—victims of war and persecution around the world—who are being placed in the Quad Cities.
- Kaleidoscope (Minneapolis): This is a nonprofit organization that has a purpose of providing a summer program that is safe, fun and educational to a large refugee population of kids. While the organization doesn’t strictly work with refugees, a lot of those they minister and serve are from refugee families. YouthWorks has volunteered with them for many summers.
- Mary’s Place/Sharing & Caring Hands (Minneapolis): Although YouthWorks no longer volunteers with Mary’s place, for many years we worked with the kids who live within the transitional apartments they offer to the homeless and to refugees. They work with family advocates who help families become self-sufficient and obtain long-term housing. They have a kids program each summer that provides an excellent volunteer opportunity.
- Arrive Ministries (Minneapolis): This organization provides top-notch resettlement services and compassionate care for displaced refugees, immigrants and asylees who now call Minnesota home. They aim to bring lifelong transformation to those they serve through God’s love.
- Catholic Charities Immigration and Migration Services (Louisville): Their aim is to provide refugees with the support and assistance they need in order to become self-sufficient. The role of Migration & Refugee Services is to involve, organize and bring together the agency, church and community resources necessary for successful resettlement.
- Americana Community Center (Louisville): Each year, they serve more than 5,000 people from over 100 countries by bridging the gap from surviving to thriving. They reach Louisville’s refugee, immigrant and underserved populations through education, family support, youth achievement, and career and financial development.
- Kentucky Refugee Ministries (Louisville): With the aim of self-sufficiency and successful integration, KRM provides resettlement services to refugees through faith- and agency-based co-sponsorship. They give refugees access to community resources and opportunities and promote awareness of diversity for the benefit of the whole community.
- Refuge (Louisville): Seeing the mutual value of connecting churches with refugees, Refuge helps simplify the process of tangibly connecting churches with refugees.
- Samaritas (Detroit): Among other ministries, Samaritas has been the Michigan affiliate of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service since the 1950s. As the largest refugee resettlement agency in the state, Samaritas has resettled thousands of people from dozens of countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central and South America.
- Exodus Refugee Immigration (Indianapolis): Exodus Refugee Immigration is dedicated to the protection of human rights by serving the resettlement needs of refugees and other displaced people fleeing persecution, injustice and war by welcoming them to Indiana.
- New American Center (Lynn, WV): New American Center is a multi-ethnic, multi-service site providing culturally appropriate and linguistically accessible social service assistance to refugees and immigrants in the Lynn area.
- The International Institute of Minnesota (St. Paul): The International Institute of Minnesota offers refugee and resettlement services to assist refugees into their new community. In 2016, they assisted 571 refugees from 12 countries of origin.