“Today’s global refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian need of our generation.” —Rich Stearns, President – World Vision US
We are witnessing an unprecedented period of global migration. Like never before in history, people are leaving their home countries to begin a new life in places completely unfamiliar to them. Some are immigrants. They are looking for better opportunities and a more comfortable, fulfilling life. Others are refugees. Because of their ethnicity, religious beliefs or political convictions, their lives are in danger if they remain in their country of origin. Driven by a hope to survive, they flee their families, culture and all that is familiar believing the risk of beginning life again is preferable to living in daily fear of survival.
Since 1980, the United States has welcomed refugees from around the world, providing them an opportunity to “begin again”. They come full of hopes and dreams, but also filled with uncertainty. Will they “make it”? Is America interested in them, their needs and their participation in the nation’s affairs? Some refugees to America have adapted well and accomplished much. Gloria Estefan and Henry Kissinger are widely-recognized names, just two of the refugees who have made significant, positive contributions to their “new home”. Yet, other refugees do gain greater safety and opportunity in their new homeland, but never thrive. A network of caring relationships, a grasp of the language, a sustainable means of support and other basic essentials are never attained. As a result, in their new home, they exist as invisible people living on the margins.
“Welcome Home” is meant to provide opportunities for people in greater Seattle to “welcome our new neighbors”; to assist them in simple, practical ways that may well make the difference between them thriving and disappearing between the cracks. We invite you to become involved as you learn:
The need is great.
Many well-run, competent organizations provide significant care and assistance to refugees and immigrants to the U.S. However, virtually every group involved in such work will tell you, “We need more volunteers! We know the problems. Refugees and immigrants are aware we exist to help them. We simply do not have enough help to address all the needs.”
The solution is simple.
Finances, food, clothing, transportation, employment, childcare, community orientation: at some point, most refugees and immigrants need assistance in areas like these. However, a far greater need is for someone to welcome them to their new home and walk along side of them as they address such issues. Giving time to build supportive relationships is so simple. Most all can do it.
The time is now.
No one knows what new global events will produce more refugees; what new circumstances will motivate would-be immigrants. No one knows how our country’s leaders will respond. Right now, however, there are already thousands of new neighbors in our communities needing friendship and support. Right now, there are opportunities for you to make a difference. You can! Join us!