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Westchester Resettlement Coalition

 

AUGUST 2023 UPDATE

WELCOMING THE "T" FAMILY FROM AFGHANISTAN

On July 31, 2023, WRC volunteers picked up the T Family at JFK International Airport.  The family is comprised of parents in their early 30s, an 8-year-old girl, and a five-year-old boy.  We brought them to temporary housing in Ossining, NY, and provided them with fresh food, pantry items, and household necessities.  The family's father worked for the U.S. military for about 10 years. His spoken and written English are both excellent.  Although the children weren't able to go to school for the last 2 years (due to safety concerns), the 8-year-old daughter taught herself a good deal of English while at home (via YouTube!).  Neither mom nor the 5-year-old son speaks English...yet!

Upon arrival, the family had initial concerns about living in Westchester and wanted to first investigate Queens as a place to live because they have some close friends living there. Over the last two weeks, WRC volunteers have shown the family around Queens, as well as around Yonkers and White Plains, and have helped them acclimate to their temporary housing.  

After much deliberation, the T family has ultimately decided to resettle in White Plains, NY, and is very grateful for the community sponsorship assistance provided by WRC.  

The WRC Housing Committee is again hard at work locating a suitable 2-bedroom apartment rental in White Plains!  Please reach out if you have any leads!

Over the next 6-8 months, WRC will be here to support the T family with school registration, ENL tutoring, health appointments, employment support, and helping the family make connections with other Afghan immigrants living in the White Plains and Westchester area.
 

"K" FAMILY UPDATE: LOOKING FOR A CAR!

Our family of five adults from Kyiv, Ukraine has decided to remain in their Yonkers apartment for another year.  Their remaining outstanding request is for WRC volunteers to hopefully help find a car for them.   They are looking for a reasonably priced, gently used 4-door car that can fit 5 adults.  Their preference is for car models from years 2017 and up.  

Please contact us if you have any car leads!

Westchester Resettlement Coalition is 100% volunteer-led and driven.  We are grateful for your support and depend upon your generous donations to continue this resettlement work in the future.

Donate directly online at:
https://www.westchesterresettlementcoalition.org/donate

If you are interested in getting more involved with WRC, tell us about your volunteering interest on our Volunteer Interest Form:
https://www.westchesterresettlementcoalition.org/get-involved

Warm Regards,

Jennifer Kahan and Wendy Naidich
WRC Co-Directors

JUNE 20, 2023 UPDATE:

A LOOK AHEAD:

The WRC Board is planning for our next refugee family.  Thanks to your generous donations and time volunteering, we have determined that we have the capacity to resettle two refugee families a year. 

The next family could arrive from a wide range of countries, including Haiti, Venezuela, Guatemala, Sudan, Yemen, Myanmar, Syria, Ukraine, or Afghanistan.

We expect to be matched with a family this July or early August. This timing is great as it enables WRC to assist the family with their children's school registrations before the 2023/2024 school year begins, assuming the family has children.

We'd love to hear from you if you are a past or new volunteer looking to work with WRC. Even if you have signed up in the past, PLEASE sign-up again; you will not need to do another background check if you’ve already done one.  

Please submit your information here

WANT TO TAKE ON A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THIS RESETTLEMENT? 

Specifically, we are looking for 2-4 Welcome Team Captains who will act as the point persons with our new family. This leadership role offers in-depth, interpersonal connection with the family, including welcoming them at the airport and playing an active role in engaging with them in their resettlement over the next 6 months.  Of course, WRC Sub-Committees will assist you every step of the way.  

Here is that link again which includes the Welcome Team Captain selection.

We are also happy to discuss this role further with you! Reach out and we'll get in touch!

A LOOK BACK:

At the end of this June 2023, WRC is celebrating our official one-year anniversary.  Although we did not settle our Ukrainian family until the beginning of November 2022, we spent our first few months preparing for the arrival of a family from Afghanistan.  We quickly shifted gears to welcome the K Family from Ukraine when the Afghani family was delayed (unfortunately, we have been informed that they are still in the UAE).

The first three K Family members quickly settled into the apartment that WRC volunteers found, furnished, and equipped for them in Yonkers.  WRC was then able to sponsor two additional family members, who arrived in the U.S. from Kyiv, Ukraine on February 6th.  As of May, all able family members are working and receiving any public benefits to which they are entitled, and they are currently paying for their rent, utilities, and other expenses on their own.  The family is now deciding whether to remain in their apartment at the end of August, or perhaps move elsewhere in Yonkers. Although we will certainly remain available to the family, our job as "co-sponsors" is basically complete.  We look forward to knowing the K family for many years as neighbors and friends now.

Westchester Resettlement Coalition is 100% volunteer-led and driven.  We are grateful for your support and depend upon your generous donations in order to continue to do this resettlement work in the future.  

You can donate directly online here 

To learn more about us, please visit click here for our website.

 

January 2023 Update 

New Job,  English Lessons and Driving Too -

Refugee Family Gets Settled

IMG_6958.heic

Luda K and Alona K, pictured here, from left to right with Cantor Robin Joseph (WRC Board Member) and Wendy Naidich (WRC Co-Director) at a Chanukah party. 

The Westchester Resettlement Coalition's first refugee family is making steady progress as they resettle in Yonkers, despite some expected and unexpected hurdles. The “K” family (no full names to respect their privacy) consists of Alona, 30 (from Ukraine), and Bishoy, 40 (from Egypt), a married couple, as well as Alona’s mom, Luda, 54 (from Ukraine).

Resettling into a new home, finding employment, and learning to drive are key goals of this family and WRC volunteers. Our volunteers have felt a sense of warmth, gratitude, and kinship when spending time with the "K" family.  The family has begun to make friendships and connect with the Ukrainian community in lower Westchester.

Luda is already employed at a local grocery store's deli counter and is proud to contribute income toward the family's goal of economic self-sufficiency.  Alona and Bishoy are currently working alongside a very talented WRC employment committee who are assisting as they reach out to employers, fine-tune their resumes, and partake in mock interviews and other related job skills training. Currently, they are also taking ENL classes at their local library and WRC volunteers will provide more one-on-one tutoring to all three family members in the future.

In December, WRC submitted paperwork to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to financially sponsor two more family members still in Kyiv. WRC will welcome these women (73-year-old grandmother Valentyna and 32-year-old sister Dasha) with open arms at the airport and ensure that their healthcare and basic financial sustenance needs are met from day one.  Once here, they will reside with their family in their Yonkers apartment.  WRC will pay for both women's airfare as well.

WRC extends a huge thank you to the many dedicated volunteers who have helped this family with healthcare needs, employment matters, and driving practice. While WRC will seek grants whenever possible, we still rely on generous donations from our congregational constituents, such as yourselves.

Your donations cover the family's rent, utilities, and basic needs for cash assistance and grocery store cards for food for the first months. In this case, this assistance has been critical as the family faces a pause in the public benefits to which they are entitled because of bureaucratic issues surrounding their transfer to Westchester from a homeless shelter where they were living in Brooklyn.  We expect the public benefits to be reinstated but, in the meantime, we are this family's financial safety net. 

Please Continue to Donate! 

We can only continue to welcome more refugee families when we have sufficient funds to do so.

You may pay via Paypal online at westchesterresettlementcoalition.org or send in a check to WRC at the following mailing address:

Westchester Resettlement Coalition, P.O Box 217, 591 Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706.

Website Changes Coming--Communication Hub in the Works

Over the next few months, the WRC Board will work on revamping our website so that it becomes a communication hub for our member synagogues, volunteers, and donors to access updates, events, and information in real-time, as well as a place to go to learn about advocacy and legislative issues. 

We are just getting started!  Thank you for helping us build WRC and for being pioneers with us, one family at a time. We are all learning together in this process.

Attend your Synagogue's Refugee Shabbat Programs:

Contact your specific synagogue's Social Action Chair/s to find out when your individual synagogue might be hosting a Refugee Shabbat.  Most, if not all, of our six-member synagogues comprising the WRC Coalition, will be hosting a Refugee Shabbat.  Some synagogues will host this event this upcoming February (February 3-4 is the 5th Annual HIAS Refugee Shabbat nationwide and worldwide) while other synagogues will be hosting later in March or April. 

Alona K and Luda K may even be speaking at some of your synagogues (their schedules permitting) so you can have a chance to meet them.  At some synagogues, WRC volunteers have also been asked to speak about their experiences volunteering with the K family thus far.  It is a great opportunity to learn more firsthand about the K family's experiences as well as the work WRC is doing. 

Warm Regards and Happy 2023!

Jennifer Kahan and Wendy Naidich, 

WRC Co-Directors

 

 

Tue, June 18 2024 12 Sivan 5784