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Westchester Resettlement Coalition

 

January 2023 Update 

New Job,  English Lessons and Driving Too -

Refugee Family Gets Settled

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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

 

 

Fri, January 27 2023 5 Shevat 5783