Welcome Partnerships have not only made a significant difference in refugee families and their adjustment and assimilation to life in America, but they have also brought transformation to many Bible Study groups, Sunday School classes, and entire congregations too!
When invited, a TRM representative gives an introductory presentation to a church or small group of people who are considering reaching out to refugees.
Step 2: Training
The first step in becoming a volunteer is to attend both a Refugee 101 Info Night and 201 Info Night. Every member of your group needs to attend the training if you are considering doing a Welcome Partnership. The training can also be viewed online, but is best done in community.
Step 3: Organize
Welcome Partnership groups choose a point person to facilitate communication. Every volunteer does an online background check, or in some cases a fingerprint check. The team schedules all the visits for three months (including date for arrival and milestone party). Members begin to collect furniture to set up an apartment. An e-mail or chain or a private Facebook group is established to aid in communication.
Step 4: Partnership Packet
The agency calls TRM and/or the group when they know that there is a family who will be arriving soon. The point person meets with a TRM representative and/or an agency staff person to sign papers and go over the “partnership packet”, and at this point the group learns a little about the family.
Step 5: Arrival
Group members head out to the airport and greet the new family as they arrive… bringing signs, flags, balloons or flowers to help welcome them. The case manager from the agency will be there as well, and can usually help with translation if needed.
Step 6: Walking Alongside
The first three months are an important time when the refugee family may need more support and attention, particularly the first 30 days. It is also a time when the refugee resettlement agency works hard to connect them with core services.
Step 7: Milestone Party
Three months after the arrival of your refugee family, we come together and celebrate all that they have learned and accomplished. Ideally, your relationship with the family continues, but will be defined differently as the group graduates from “volunteer” status to “friend” status.