Samaritas

St. Philip’s is working with several local churches to sponsor an Afghan refugee family. The first step is to obtain volunteers. The hope is to get at least 5-10 or so from each church. Volunteers, in any capacity, have to become "certified". It is a bit of a time consuming process but not difficult. Once someone from St. Philip's volunteers there a number of things they have to do right away before they can be involved with the refugees:

  •  
  • Let Jane Brown know you want to be a volunteer.
  • Register at the Samaritas/Galaxy site.
  • There are some steps they will give you after you register including:
    • Submit driver's license
    • Apply for a Central Registry Clearance 
    • Agree to a criminal background check
    • Complete the following modules online:
    • Infection control
    • Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
    • Cyber Safety
    • Cultural Nuances      
    • Confidentiality Training
    • Interpreter Training if you are serving as an interpreter
    • Mentorship Basics ( 1 ¼ hour)
    • Background Check (drivers)
 

        Our first job is to start creating a list of volunteers from all of the churches and their areas of "expertise" according to the "Responsibility Categories". 

    • Welcome committee:
      • This is important. Refugees first contact with people, hospitality, feeling safe, etc. 
      • Involves airport pickup, driving to initial housing and first meal in the U.S.
      • This would be a one time duty. 
    • Initial temporary housing and eventually long-term housing:
      • It sounds like a hotel room is a good option initially until more permanent and affordable housing is found but volunteers need to find that housing
    • Language translation (Google Translator?) and eventually language instruction if necessary:
      • ESL teachers would be helpful here
      • 2 languages spoken are Dari and Pashto - do any volunteers speak those languages?
    • Employment:
      • A later priority, but will need people to help find jobs, training for jobs, interviewing practice, etc. 
    • Education enrollment for children:
      • Might also include tutoring, mentoring or assisting in the actual education
    • Transportation (eventually drivers licenses and vehicle)
    • Furnishings once housing is secured:
      • This can be donations of actual items, Amazon wish list, online shower, etc. 
    • Communication tools (computer/phone)
    • Food – Food Pantry, grocery store runs
    • Clothing:
      • Finding a "clothes closet" type of store, taking people shopping for new clothes, etc. 
    • Medical Care - if all are in agreement with what is below, I think this item is can be considered taken care of:
      • I spoke with Devyn Carter today, Executive Director of Trinity Community Care, the free clinic where I volunteer. She shared the following:
        • She is a member of the National Association of Free Clinics, works closely with the Michigan Department of Public Health and is very familiar with State of Michigan medical guidelines for refugees living in Michigan
        • Trinity Community Care is already involved with a refugee resettlement organization - Hope, Care and Beyond - and currently provides all their medical and dental care
        • All refugees entering Michigan are offered free Medicaid starting day one
        • Trinity Community Care will yes, absolutely, be happy to provide medical and dental care for our family/families until they have their Medicaid
    • Financial Coach:
      • Assist with learning our money system, set up a bank account, how to write checks, pay bills, etc.

 

Samaritas has committed to resettle 350 Afghan women, children, men - families like yours - who will arrive soon in Michigan. This humanitarian crisis is an opportunity to join together and respond loudly to the Taliban and the world that violence, intolerance and persecution will not be tolerated. Samaritas needs money, supplies, and housing space.

We are working with local Rochester area churches to help sponsor two families. More information will be forthcoming. In the mean time, you can contact Jane Brown.


 

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