UUCF and the UU Congregation of Sterling (UUCS) are co-sponsoring a refugee family in 2016-17 as part of Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of the National Capital Area Refugee Resettlement Program. The family from Afghanistan – a widow and her two children, ages 13 and 10 – moved into their new apartment in October 2016.
The sponsorship has included helping to fund and provide food, clothing, housing, furniture, household items, transportation and other essentials to welcome and help the family become acclimated to the Northern Virginia community. Project volunteers also helped the mom with her job search and continue to support her with English language and financial sustainability training. Before the end of the project, volunteers with support the family in finding long-term affordable housing options.
More than 50 volunteers have signed up to provide goods or help the family in a variety of ways. Please contact the team leaders below to volunteer your time and support.
- General Coordination: Coordinators Rod Paolini, UUCF, and Roshan Chaddha and Zubair Suri, UUCS
- Welcome and Guidance: Team leader Rhonda Paterson
- Telecommunications (Internet and TV: Karen Monroe
- Job Searching: Carla de Chassy
- Translators: Cathy Woehrle
- Food and Clothing: Team leader Cathy Woehrle
- Activities: Ann King
- Subsidized housing application: Nancy Meidenbauer
- Fundraising and gifts to family: Nancy Meidenbauer
- Before- and after-school care: Malaika Walton and Jean Robinson
- English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): Bea Shields
- Financial adviser: Richard Shields
To donate money, mail a check to Rich Sider, UUCF, P.O. Box 130, Vienna, VA 22124. Write refugee resettlement on the memo line.
LSS Refugee Resettlement Information
- FAQ and glossary
- Volunteer training/orientation packet
- Sponsorship levels packet
- Co-Sponsorship Team Committee Assignments
- Co-Sponsor Refugee Powerpoint
- Co-sponsor Interest Form
- Background Investigation Procedures
- Proposal to the UUCF Social Justice Council, 060816
Wondering whether helping one refugee family will really make a difference? Here are some resources to help you decide:
- My mother is vetted every day of her life, Oct. 21, 2016, Washington Post.
- Washington, DC, exhibit on the refugee crisis.
- Congregation to help welcome refugee families to Northern Virginia, Sep. 18, 2016, Loudoun TImes-Mirror.
- Synagogue hosts a welcome dinner for Syrian Refugees, Jun. 4, 2016, Washington Post.
- NOVA region responds to Syrian refugee crises, May 18, 2016, Rumi Forum.
- Refugees in America: Syrian family rebuilds life in the U.S., Sep. 21, 2015, Associated Press.
- Meet the Darbis, A Syrian refugee family In America: Part one, Oct. 16, 2015, Huffington Post. “I will not go back to Syria. I am not willing to go back to a country that is in chaos, that could expose myself, my children to death.”
- Among the lucky few: Syrian family rebuilds In America’s heartland, Oct. 20, 2015, NPR All Things Considered.
- Syrian refugees ‘typical American family’ in Indiana, Jan. 29, 2016, Voice of America.