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Issue #36 December, 2019
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Lexington Refugee Assistance Program

LexRAP UPDATES
December 2019

Good News!

Two of the asylum seekers we have been hosting in LexRAP homes have gotten the news that their asylum was granted!  One from Rwanda and one from Iran – and both had their hearing and then within weeks heard that their asylum was granted.
 

Update on Worldwide and U.S. Refugee Crisis and
Resettlement (not good news)

Worldwide Refugee Figures – reported by the UN High Commission on Refugees
 

In FY 2018 (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018), a total of 22,491 refugees were resettled in the United States, under a refugee ceiling of 45,000.

In October of 2019, ZERO refugees were resettled in the U.S. 

Next Steering Committee Meeting
Monday, December 18 at 7:00PM
Hancock Church, 1912 Mass Ave, Lexington

 
Please come a few minutes early, as we always start the meeting on time. Steering meetings are open to all who are actively working on LexRAP projects or for those curious to understand more about what LexRAP is doing and finding a way to help. Parking is in the back of the church.

Upcoming Hand-in-Hand Community Dinners

All of the dinners have sold out!  New dates for 2020:

  • January 11, 2020 (almost sold out!)
  • Feb 1,  Mar 7, April 4, and June 13 2020.  Here is the link to buy tickets – purchase soon so you don’t miss out!

We continue to be thankful that all dinners are hosted at 1st Parish Church in Lexington on the town Battle Green. A fabulous video about Hand-in-Hand was created by Rick Dorrington with LexMedia can still be enjoyed YouTube

If you would like to help with the dinners, volunteers are needed on the day of the dinners for set up, clean up, baby sitting and more.  This is a really fun job and a good way to meet the cooks and other volunteers! To volunteer for either short term as well as long term overall management of the project. Contact Jilana.

Please note that all meals (6-8PM ET) will be Halal, nut, and alcohol free. 

ARE YOU AN ENGLISH SPEAKER WHO WOULD LIKE TO LEARN ARABIC?

ARE YOU AN ARABIC SPEAKER WHO WOULD LIKE TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH?
Well, we would like to introduce each of you to one another! If there’s enough interest, LexRAP will connect you with a corresponding member of our LexRAP community and provide you with an opportunity to share the knowledge of your own language, while at the same time learning how to improve your skills in the other language. Please let us know if you’re interested. Contact Nassma.
  • Please consider Donating to Family Reunification Fund. We are raising money to help the refugees we are involved with be re-united with their families.  We have people who have become US citizens or received their Green Cards and for whom it is finally safe to travel to their country of origin and folks waiting for the US government to allow their immediate family into the US. The cost of their travel to the US will be expensive. Others have children born in refugee camps or in the US who have never met grandparents and other relatives. And for still others, the only way to see their family is to meet in a neutral country since they can’t return to their country of origin.  All of these costs are beyond their means.  For all these reasons, we have started a Family Reunification Fund.  We have already purchased plane tickets for two trips to Jordan and Iraq. One was for a mother to see her husband and long-separated children, the other for a family medical emergency. If you would like to donate to this fund, please CLICK HERE. Put the fund name on your check or along with the on-line donation.
     
  • Hosting - Do you have an extra room?  Currently we are hosting four  asylum seekers. The rules around applying for asylum in the United States have changed and the wait to get asylum keeps getting longer. This problem exists here in New England – not just at our Southern border.  All of this translates into people who are seeking asylum needing financial help and housing.  LexRAP families have opened their homes to individuals and LexRAP has provided financial support for these folks until they can legally work.  If you have an extra room and can provide housing for an asylee we will first introduce you to someone who has hosted an asylee and explain the process. If interested in exploring this much needed and wonderful way to help, please contact Bruce.
LexRAP continues to collect Laptops!
It’s a way to search for services or a job, communicate with teachers, prepare for citizenship exams, complete school assignments practice English, or stay in touch with friends and family.
Most of LexRap’s families qualify for very low-cost internet access for $10/month, but they need devices! Beyond the families we are directly supporting, we give laptops to students in families through resettlement agencies. Does your company retire laptops after a few years of use? Is someone in your life getting a new laptop? Consider donating the old one. Maybe you have an unused laptop taking up space? Consider donating it!  Would your church or synagogue or school or scout troop like to organize a laptop drive (similar to a coat drive)?

The description of units that we can refurbish is here (scroll down). Make sure to tape passwords to the laptop so we can access and wipe information. Contact Peggy for drop-off locations or contact Peter for technical questions.
Providing a home for an unaccompanied refugee minor.  Do you have room in your heart and space in your home to become a foster parent to an unaccompanied minor? These children tend to be teens and are resilient. If you become a foster parent to a refugee minor, LexRAP will put a network of support together to help. Contact Bruce to learn more about this program.
 
More Tutors and Social Workers!   We have had the extraordinary luck to have experienced teachers as tutors and this has worked very well.  We appoint a social worker as the lead and that person stays in touch with the school and coordinates as well as helps the family navigate communication with the school. We have found that the needs for the children with disrupted education are less about spoken language than basic education and also that vocabulary and reading are essential needs to help the children catch up – which the children do rapidly. Contact Elizabeth.

Monthly Lunch Program
“Building Bridges One Meal at a Time.” 

LexRAP funds this hugely successful monthly initiative. People make, bring, and then share a homemade lunch at an English Language Learners class at IINE, a resettlement agency in Lowell.  This is an excellent opportunity to get involved with LexRAP by sharing lunch and conversation with the ESL learners.   We will be resuming the lunches in the Fall.    Contact Babs for more information and to sign up for one of the monthly lunch events.

LexRAP's Sustained Giving Initiative
LexRAP's Sustained Giving Initiative is a way to give monthly and we have had several people sign up to be Sustaining Givers. Individuals can now go online at our website and give a little or a lot, automatically every month. You can find our postal address if you are using a check, or our Paypal link if you prefer to make your donation online.
LexRAP OUTREACH!  
LexRAP also welcomes the opportunity to do presentations at churches, temples, senior citizen communities, and other organizations. Typically our volunteers provide a 20-minute PowerPoint introduction with Q&A to help educate and engage people around refugee issues and to discuss what LexRAP is doing to assist asylum seekers and refugee families locally. We want to expand these presentations and could use help to make some calls to organizations in Lexington and surrounding towns. We have a list of 15 or so organizations to be contacted. If you can help, please contact Tom and let him know you're willing to make some calls.
 
EVENTS AND AGENCY CONTACT INFO
 

De Novo (formerly called CLSACC) provides free civil legal assistance and affordable psychological counseling for people with low incomes. ASYLUM: Immigrants who have fled their home country because of past persecution or fear of persecution because of race, religion, gender, nationality, social group or political views may be eligible to apply for asylum. De Novo has free walk in legal clinic where people can talk to immigration lawyers on the 3rd Wednesday from 5:15 to 7:15PM. https://www.denovo.org/


Household Goods
Provides a full range of donated furniture and household items, free of charge, to help people in need make a home. Staffed by volunteers, depends on the generosity of community members for goods, time and financial support. Please support us so that together we can continue to help people make a home during their time of greatest need. https://householdgoods.org/

Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project provides free legal services to asylum seekers and promotes the rights of detained immigrants.
Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC), in partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services has focused on direct representation of individuals applying for U.S. asylum and related protections. https://hls.harvard.edu/dept/clinical/clinics/harvard-immigration-and-refugee-clinical-program/

International Institute of New England (IINE) Resettles refugees in Lowell, Manchester and elsewhere in N.E. and offers on-going services such as ESL and support. A lot going on!  Suitcase Stories, Annual Gala and more. https://iine.org

Catholic Charities has been providing services to refugees for more than 100 years. https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/our-ministry/immigration-refugee-services/

Ascentria resettles refugees and is the only agency that resettles unaccompanied minors in New England. https://www.ascentria.org/

NuDaySyria focuses on women and children and brings humanitarian aid inside Syria and to displaced Syrians in the bordering areas around Syria. http://www.nudaysyria.net/

Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM) One of the few organizations to provide support to asylum seekers.  Volunteer opportunities for mentors and ESL teachers. http://www.r-i-m.net/
 
Help us get our Newsletter to more people
Please tell anyone you know who cares about the fate and well-being of the thousands of refugees currently living in our area about LexRAP to learn about the work that we do. Subscribe here.
 
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LexRAP · 3 Jeffrey Terrace · Lexington, MA 02420 · USA

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