Very much so, and Junior Leagues along with other nonprofits across the globe have stepped up to fill in the increasing needs of the newly-arrived, many from war-torn nations. The Refugee Processing Center, a division of the Department of State, has a wealth of up-to-date statistics on numbers of new arrivals. A more comprehensive look at what happens after refugees arrive can be found on the fact sheet provided by the Migration Policy Institute. In the report’s summary, it is indicated that while many refugees initially receive public assistance and community support, within five to 10 years, “most refugees achieve self-sufficiency and near economic parity with the U.S.-born population.”
And Junior Leagues are increasingly stepping up to provide that important community support, especially to the most newly-arrived.
In a manner similar to the earliest work of Junior Leagues, one of the Junior League of Memphis’ newest community programs for the 2017-2018 League year is the Refugee Empowerment Program: Adult Acclimation. Volunteers will empower and educate adult refugees by teaching English as a second language, pre-GED classes, as well as basic math and citizenship preparedness.
The Junior League of Syracuse proudly celebrated the 2017 National Volunteer Week by assisting the local Congolese refugee community with training in first aid treatments.
The International Women’s House was established in 1995 by the Junior League of DeKalb County (and supported by a coalition of refugee and mainstream service providers) when it was recognized there was need for a shelter to serve battered women and children of all nationalities. In 1999, with the full support and encouragement of the League, IWH became autonomous and attained its own 501(c)3 status. JLD remains actively involved in IWH via the IWH Committee as well as the number of actives and sustainers that serve on IWH’s Board and Capital Campaign committees.
In the past League year, the Junior League of Austin provided volunteers and $17,900 in funds for the Center for Survivors of Torture which provides mental health and social services to refugees and asylum seekers who have suffered torture and trauma before fleeing their countries. With free mental health treatment from licensed professionals, survivors can overcome the devastating effects of torture and trauma to live healthy, productive lives. CST’s free counseling and social services programs help survivors heal from the impact of torture and trauma so they can begin to rebuild their lives.
A year ago, we wrote about Refugee Connect, the unique and hugely successful program of the Junior League of Cincinnati. Refugee Connect continues as a signature project of the League, and continues to improve the lives of refugees in Greater Cincinnati, to foster community acceptance and inclusion, and to construct a sustainable support system.
Whenever there is community need, you can be sure the Junior League will get involved.