Soon, this image will appear all over New Start Ministry CT's social media. Very soon.
Volunteering with New Start Ministry, an interfaith refugee resettlement ministry, has been an adventure. I've helped resettle two refugee families and we're getting ready to resettle a third. Getting ready as in, finding an apartment, gathering items for the apartment, fundraising $10K in a Race Against Time, and figuring out the ins and outs of resettling an Afghani family that is awaiting resettlement at a military base somewhere in the U.S.
We've built a team of volunteers who have all aspects of the resettlement process covered - acculturation, English, education, social services, tech, housing, household items, clothing, transportation, finances, and so much more. We'll be ready to give the "green light" for resettlement, signifying to iris (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) that we're ready to accept a family for resettlement, imminently.
The first time this ministry got to this point, it was a massive accomplishment. When we voted to give our green light, it was with great joy and trepidation and excitement. We'd never done this before, but we were as ready as we were ever going to be.
The second green light we gave, I think the feelings were much the same. We'd really never done this before, because each family is different and our team had many new members ... but we were as ready as we could be.
Once again, we're in uncharted territory. This time we have Covid-19 and its variants; mask and vaccine mandates; and all the restrictions and social distancing and everything that goes with a global pandemic to navigate as we work toward welcoming a refugee family into our community. We have the Afghan crisis and the difference in paperwork and processing that goes with resettling asylees instead of a refugees .Some things usually done in person are now being done online. Apartments and jobs and translators and English language tutors who are comfortable meeting in person are difficult to come by, but yet, we have some wonderful, willing volunteers and good prospects.
Nevertheless, we venture forward. And when we once again give the green light, we will wait in joyful anticipation for our newest family.