Annual Resettlement of a Refugee Family
Beginning in April 2012, Yale Club of Chicago alumni have serviced 3 refugee families and made the transition to their new, foreign life in the USA possible, enabling and more comfortable. We plan to furnish one apartment per year and hope to mentor each admitted family throughout their first year in the USA.
This project takes tremendous commitment and teamwork among alumni volunteers. We have collected and stored furniture; we moved the furniture into the apartments and prepared the apartments with clothing, shoes, school supplies, kitchenware, toiletries, bedding and artwork; we stocked the pantries and refrigerators with groceries and arrival meals; we welcomed the families at the airport; and we have tutored the children in schoolwork and mentored the parents via “acclimation field trips”, english practice and general advisory conversations. In our mentor-tutor role, the goal is to visit the family once per week. Additionally we are generally available for consultation via phone or email and will rise to the occasion should our family encounter difficulty in adjustment and fulfillment of basic needs, or should they encounter an emergency situation.
RefugeeOne has been a wonderful partner organization in this endeavor. Once they identify and assign us an incoming family and secure the apartment, we begin our work, with their help and advice. We are constantly in a two way communication, together striving to make the refugee transition as positive an experience as possible. We hope to continue working in partnership indefinitely, as long as there is local club energy, to improve the lives of refugees.
Robbin Walsh Schoewe