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Christians help ease refugee transition into the United States

By March 20, 2012

USA
(MNN) — Remember the last time you moved? Remember what it was like to find the new grocery store, bank or a good
church? How about the first time you
walked into a new church where you didn't know anybody?

Do
you remember the relief of finding a friendly face, or someone who took the
time to show you around?  Imagine those
feelings multiplied by the confusion of a new language and new culture.

Last
year, over 56,000 people sought refuge in America, according to statistics
released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee
Resettlement.

Those
who have come through these channels arrive bewildered, in shock, and not quite
knowing how to acclimate. Bethany
Christian Services
helps refugee families deal with the stress of resettlement,
family problems, grief, loss, post-trauma, and adjustment to the new life.

They
offer Refugee Adjustment Services (RAS) and Programs Assisting Refugee
Acculturation. PARA works to link
newly-arrived refugees with church co-sponsors, individual volunteers, service
providers, and other community resources.

In addition, the program (also
known as the New Neighbor Program) provides friendship, language training,
cultural orientation, and social, educational, health, and financial
information. Bethany works to integrate refugee families so they feel a sense
of home and belonging in the United States.

Church volunteers
can help by finding and furnishing an apartment, providing food, and collecting
clothing and other household items. Others help by providing transportation to
appointments, taking the family shopping, inviting the family for a meal in your
home, or volunteering in many other ways.

Churches
offer volunteer time and money to help support the family. A co-sponsoring church may give approximately 250 to 300 volunteer hours over three to four
months.

Interested
in learning more? Check our Featured
Links section.

 

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