My Country Can Be a Refuge

Rebuilding Hope, October 2015 edition
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VolunteersCommunity members and volunteers are the heart of our work!

From furnishing apartments to teaching English, they introduce newcomers to the American way of life. The welcome refugees receive is crucial to how quickly they can rebuild their lives.

When refugees step off the plane in the United States, volunteers and staff at partner agencies, meet them at the airport and take them to their new apartment. However, a lot work has taken place before that ever happens.

Dana Wilson volunteers at LIRS partner agency Refugee Service of Texas in Dallas. Dana is one of those special people who makes sure that the new homes for refugees have all the necessities to get their lives started.

Dana starts with an empty apartment and a list of items to collect. Everything from furniture to soap often need to be available once the new residents arrive. Dana takes her role seriously to make sure that nothing is left undone. She loves adding the finishing touches like making the beds and stocking the fridge to welcome the arriving family.

Refugees arrive at the airport exhausted and anxious about their new lives in America. During those first 24 hours, in which everything is new, Dana hopes refugee families will take comfort in the small touches that demonstrate your care and concern.

“I like the idea that my country can be a refuge,” Dana shares. “Nobody dreams of raising their children in a war zone…I’m glad that we can welcome refugees to the United States.”

To explore volunteer opportunities across the country, email Laura Griffin at lgriffin@lirs.org. If you would like to grow your volunteer program, check out http://volunteer.lirs.org for our Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit.

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