Issue #6  February 20, 2017
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Lexington Refugee Assistance Program
Want to Help?
Here's How 
Sorry that we have been quiet the last few weeks.  LexRAP has been inundated with concerned people wanting to help and to have some tangible impact helping refugees.  We decided there was a need to organize our initiatives with individual leaders who can be directly contacted to make these activities more accessible to people who want to volunteer.

We have a Steering Committee that meets monthly.  These are open meetings for those people most actively involved with the below initiatives.

The next meeting of the Steering Committee is
Thursday March 9th at 7:15 at Temple Isaiah.
(Come early to meet new people.)

Please look carefully at the ten initiatives outlined below and contact its respective team leader to indicate your interest in pitching in. We hope that you're prepared to roll up your sleeves and get busy, to the extent that you are able, working to support the refugees in our community who're in need of a helping hand.
Active LexRAP initiatives needing volunteers
Outreach Group members do presentations to raise awareness about refugees, answer questions, and promote involvement in LexRAP. If you know of someone who would be interested in a presentation or would like to be involved, CONTACT Tom 
We try to keep our website current by putting up events and news. Amantha needs help so if you are website savvy and can lend a helping hand, please CONTACT Amantha.  We are staying politically neutral (hard to do these days!) so please don’t send us rally or petition information. 

Money for educational grants.
We are looking for grant money to create a “bank” of money to loan at no interest to refugees for education and retraining.  CONTACT Marianne if you have ideas of sources or would like to work on the grant once we identify sources. 

Looking for foster families
Do you have space in your home and your heart? LexRAP is would like to speak with any local residents who might have an extra room in their homes, and space in their hearts, to be foster parents to Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM).  These  refugee children are generally adolescent; they have fled their homes, lost their families, and come from a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East and Central America. They receive financial support and have social support services from a specific agency – Ascentria, funded federally. They adjust very well. If you, or someone you know might be interested in fostering an unaccompanied minor -  CONTACT Bruce. 

Tutoring Unaccompanied Minor teens
We need tutors who can meet with unaccompanied minors in Somerville, Cambridge or Waltham. The tutoring would take place in the student’s school or a public library.  Keeping the kids on track with homework is as much a need as content help! CONTACT Jane.

Emergency refugee help 
LexRAP continues to  work with families that have urgent needs for housing and other issues. If you have housing resources or an understanding of housing assistance, please CONTACT Omar.  Also, if you are a social worker or medical professional – particularly mental health professional- please let us know if you can be called on to help and intervene on behalf of refugee families as we try to get their status for decent housing elevated. 

Tutoring/ESL help in Lowell
LexRAP is looking for tutors who are able to go to Lowell to tutor children or adults at the International Institute of New England (IINE) office in Lowell.  CONTACT Alexandra

Greeters in Lowell
IINE also needs help in greeting the refugees who come in to their office every week day. Helping in the office by answering the phone, greeting visitors, and talking with refugees to help them navigate American life.  CONTACT Jiliana and David Greene

Fun & Funds
Munroe Center for Arts (Lexington) is planning an evening of performance art around the theme of refugees for September 2017.  This fundraiser for LexRAP requires help in organizing and publicizing. CONTACT Bruce and Amantha  

Sunday Spring Fling at Church of the Redeemer (Lexington) will be a social with conversation, sweets, and tea (or lemonade) and the opportunity to get to know one another better.  Kids are encouraged. We will need drivers to go get some folks. Date TBD. We are in the process of finding a leader for this event. Let Marianne know if you might be interested in taking this on by yourself or with a co-chair.

Help to honor and celebrate the contributions of refugees and immigrants in New England through the timeless art of live storytelling. May 3rd, at the Regent Theater in Arlington – this will be a fund raiser for IINE. LexRAP is helping to promote this.  Refugees and those working with refugees will tell stories in the Moth Radio Hour fashion. With refugee resettlement cut in half by the current administration, funding for any agency that resettles refugees gets cut, too.  We need to help with publicity.  CONTACT Jane or Marianne 

Volunteering with RIM or hosting an asylum seeker.
We work with Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM) as one of their “clusters” and currently provide financial support for two asylees who are being hosted by LexRAP families.   Good news update: both of the asylees we are hosting have cleared the first immigration hurdle and both have jobs.  One is also a full time student at Bunker Hill.  People wanting to understand how to volunteer at RIM or if interested in hosting an asylum seeker please.  CONTACT Alan

A Walk for Refugees  
On May 20th, there will be a walk in Wakefield as a fund raiser for RIM where all the money goes to support our cluster account.  It is this account that provides financial support to the asylum seekers we host.  CONTACT Abdu and Laura

Stray volunteers 
Anyone not clear on any of the above initiatives or who wants to talk about any of the above or has ideas of other ways we can help refugees - CONTACT Lynn
If you're having trouble contacting any one of the initiative leaders, CONTACT Don.

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LexRAP · 10 Grant Place · Lexington, MA 02420 · USA

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