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From Sea to Shore: Olena’s Journey

Olena, from Ukraine, says that becoming a refugee is like being thrown into the ocean. Keep reading to hear more of her story and how a local church joined our staff to welcome her and her son.   Flight I’m here because a war started in my country and I had to leave as soon…

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Home Was No Longer a Safe Haven

by Jose Serrano and our Partners in Tijuana // Carlos is a veteran of the Colombian armed forces. According to him, guerillas have begun to regain control throughout Colombia in the past few years.  ‘Because of my previous work with the military, I am no longer safe in Colombia,’ says Carlos.  Most recently, he, his wife,…

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Change That Lasts Through Mutual Transformation

by Judy and Mike Palm // At World Relief SoCal, we often talk about mutual transformation as a central goal for relationships within our community: among churches, between volunteers and newcomers, between staff and neighbors. But what does it take to build the kind of authentic friendships that would lead to mutual transformation?  We interviewed…

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Frequently Asked Questions: Refugee Resettlement in the Chippewa Valley

Heart graphic overlay refugee family dinner table

Who are refugees? Under U.S. and international law, refugees are individuals who are outside of their country of origin who have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, political opinion, national origin or particular social group. Globally, there an estimated 35.3 million refugees who meet this definition. Back in 1980, the…

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From Refugee to Creating Lasting Change

Oksana’s Story Oksana Verovaya and her husband embarked on a daunting journey, fleeing Ukraine with their two small children, and seeking refuge in the U.S. Their escape was driven by the persecution they faced as Christians, which compelled them to seek safety and freedom in a foreign land. First fleeing to Moscow, they had to…

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Refugee Stories: Meet Malian

Line drawing of a refugee family on a blue background

There’s someone we’d like you to meet. At just 16, Malian was forced to flee his home in Burma. For the next 15 years, he and his young family waited for a place where they could rebuild their lives. This is his refugee story. Every June, we invite people like you to celebrate World Refugee…

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“World Relief Cup” Raises Support for Refugee Resettlement Services

In recognition of World Refugee month in June, World Relief Western Washington is hosting the inaugural World Relief Cup soccer tournament to celebrate the resilience and contributions of local refugees. The tournament begins at 9 a.m. and the championship games occur at 6:00 p.m. The final awards ceremony and celebration will take place at 7:30…

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Thurston County Hosts “From Home to Home” Refugee Resettlement Simulation Event

From Home to Home is an experiential exhibit that builds understanding around the crisis of forced displacement. Refugees and asylees face many challenges and difficult decisions along their journey to resettlement. From Home to Home simulates these decision points and common difficulties in a walk-through exhibit. Our staff will guide you through the exhibit, help debrief the experience, and facilitate a debrief time over snacks and hot drinks.

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Prayer for Syria and Turkey After Devastating Earthquakes

Join World Relief Western Washington in lifting up a prayer for Syria and Turkey. On February 6, 2023, two earthquakes caused enormous destruction. Currently, thousands of people have died and many thousands more are injured or missing. The process of rebuilding homes, businesses, and lives will take many years.  Within our community at World Relief…

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Prayer for Syria and Turkey After Devastating Earthquakes

Join World Relief Chicagoland in lifting up a prayer for Syria and Turkey. On February 6, 2023, two earthquakes caused enormous destruction. Currently, thousands of people have died and many thousands more are injured or missing. The process of rebuilding homes, businesses, and lives will take many years.  Within our community at World Relief Chicagoland,…

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Resiliency & Hope in the Midst of Persecution

Fleeing Persecution in Cambodia When Sithy and his wife, Saobot, arrived in the United States in March of 2022, he was not sure what his life would look like. He had been rejected, persecuted, and imprisoned for his political affiliation in Cambodia.  Both Sithy and Saobot’s siblings and other family members remain in Cambodia. While…

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News from H.O.M.E.: Serving Asylum Seekers

Early in 2022, we featured a post by Hannah Thompson, World Relief Chicagoland’s Immigrant Family Services Volunteer Coordinator who works with the staff and community volunteers who serve asylum seekers through the H.O.M.E. Program. Now, Hannah is back, sharing what has changed since January. First, what is the H.O.M.E. Program? World Relief Chicagoland created the…

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The Long Road to Citizenship: Prince’s Story

Reflecting on September as the time of year that we celebrate citizenship with #CitizenshipDay, a day inviting, “Americans to reflect on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship,” we invite you to continue reading to learn about one of our own’s story, Prince Mushunju and his wife, Laurette! Becoming a citizen affords a lot of privileges…

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Sudanese Student Begins First Semester at Local University

Darelsalam Karama’s family arrived in the United States in 2018 when she was fourteen. In those four years, Darelsalam was placed in many different environments that brought about many challenges. “We started at Thomasville Middle School, and everything was so different from Sudan,” she says. “My native languages are Arabic and Zaghawa, so I went…

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Answering Your Questions About Asylum Seekers

Last week, buses sent from Texas began arriving in Chicago carrying asylum seekers from the U.S. southern border. Since then, local government officials and organizations have been working quickly to ensure that the new arrivals have access to food, housing, and the other essentials every human needs to survive—while also creating longer-term solutions.   With the…

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World Relief Memphis Stands Alongside Grieving Community In Wake of Tragic Loss

September 9, 2022 CONTACT:Audrey Gardenaudrey.garden@pinkston.co571-405-1606 MEMPHIS, Tenn., September 9, 2022 – World Relief Memphis is heartbroken over the loss of life and injuries inflicted as a result of the devastating shootings in Memphis that occurred on Wednesday. We also join Second Presbyterian Church and the broader community in mourning the loss of Eliza Fletcher. World…

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5 Ways to Keep Welcoming Afghans

5 Ways to Keep Welcoming Afghans

In August 2021, the U.S. military withdrew from Afghanistan, and Kabul fell to the Taliban. Many Afghans who had assisted the U.S. government were left at considerable risk. Since the withdrawal, an estimated 84,600 Afghans have been evacuated to the U.S. Over the last year, people like you have helped us welcome over 330 of…

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Anzhella’s Story: Do Unto Others

Image of Angela and her daughter.

“My mom was so grateful. Even for the littlest things, she would say, ‘Thank you God!’ She would appreciate everything.” Anzhella (she goes by Angela here in the United States because people often have trouble pronouncing her given name correctly) came to the US when she was six years old. In addition to a twin…

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Meeting New Neighbors: First Impressions

Balinda. Anzhella. Rezvan. Ibadallah. Aziz. Ivan. Massuda. Elena. Haitham. Ivan. Abdul. Andrey. Morella. Halima. Viktorya. Just saying the names of a few of the people and new neighbors I have met in my first week of work at World Relief Spokane makes me smile. They come from the Ukraine, Congo, Afghanistan, Russia — places I…

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World Relief Praises Bipartisan Introduction of the Afghan Adjustment Act in Congress, Urges Swift Congressional Passage and Support by the President

World Relief Urges Congress to Protect Dreamers After Appeals Court Decision Leaves Future of DACA Program In Doubt

August 9, 2022 CONTACT:Audrey Gardenaudrey.garden@pinkston.co571-405-1606 BALTIMORE — Today, World Relief praises the bipartisan introduction of an Afghan Adjustment Act in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House and urges swift congressional passage of the bill. Over 70,000 Afghans were evacuated to the U.S. in the weeks following the fall of Kabul one year ago…

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World Relief Praises Bipartisan Introduction of the Afghan Adjustment Act in Congress, Urges Swift Congressional Passage and Support by the President

August 9, 2022 CONTACT:Audrey Gardenaudrey.garden@pinkston.co571-405-1606 BALTIMORE — Today, World Relief praises the bipartisan introduction of an Afghan Adjustment Act in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House and urges swift congressional passage of the bill. Over 70,000 Afghans were evacuated to the U.S. in the weeks following the fall of Kabul one year ago…

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How You Can Take Action for Refugees and Immigrants in Chicago

Though news channels and social media might fixate on issues on the national stage, one of the most important ways you can support your immigrant and refugee neighbors is by advocating for them on the local level. Advocating for action in your own community is one of the best ways to make a difference for…

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A Refugee Family’s Long Resettlement Journey

For refugees seeking to rebuild their lives, their journey to the United States can be long and fraught with challenges. While the average time it takes for a refugee to be vetted and screened to come to the U.S. is about two years, many people leave their homes long before. UNHCR reports that some refugees…

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How You Can Lead from Where You Are

You Can be a Leader

Leadership reflection from World Relief Chicagoland Executive Director Susan Sperry. At World Relief, we regularly say that we want to create communities of love and welcome. I believe that this is an important vision. In fact, it’s a guiding idea that has motivated much of my own decision-making and sense of calling in my life…

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From Volunteers to Friends through Welcome

Volunteers Nancy Montgomery and Peter Jennings share their journeys as active World Relief Triad partners working to build relationships with Afghan immigrants through producing a message of holistic, sustainable change and welcome to their community. The Journey to Volunteering For Good Neighbor Team members Nancy Montgomery and Peter Jennings, they can trace their desire to…

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Impact Report: Key Metrics from the 2021 Year in Review

Impact in 2021

This year, the World Relief Chicagoland community continues walking alongside immigrants and refugees throughout Chicagoland by providing vital services through a community of staff, volunteers, church partners, grant funders, business leaders, and other individuals. In 2021, we remembered the African proverb: To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together. These words inspired the…

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Lent Prayer Guide: A Call to Give

Lent Prayer Guide: A Call to Give

What is Lent? Lent is a time to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus. In this time of reflection, Lent is also a call to give up something for 40 days. We do this in order to not only become more aware of God’s presence in us, but to give in to who…

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A Model for Corporate Partnership: GForce Life Sciences

At World Relief Chicagoland, we love working with partners in a holistic way especially when we share the core value of serving people in vulnerable situations. A holistic partnership is about more than writing a check (though it is one way to make an impact).  It involves mobilizing people in your company to engage in…

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Celebrating International Mother Language Day

Celebrating Mother Language Day

Perhaps like me, you were surprised and intrigued to learn that International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is a global celebration. First proclaimed in 1999 by UNESCO, the goal of the day is “to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.” This year, the theme of IMLD is about the use of technology in language education.   From…

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Cozy Recipes for Winter from 5 Different Cultures

It’s February, and for those of us in Chicago, that means frigid winter temperatures. Winter means brisk walks breathing in the cold winter air and snow days spent bundled up indoors. These cold, dark months feel like the perfect excuse to get cozy. And when I think of cozy, I think of hot drinks. I…

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Watch this Family Reunite After 9 Years Apart

Why Family Reunification is Needed Can you imagine fleeing your home? And not just leaving behind your community. Becoming separated from your family too. Sadly, the circumstances that push refugees from their homes often separate families. And this creates countless hardships. Sometimes there are tragic consequences. The loss has a lasting emotional impact that affects…

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Three Stories of Welcoming Refugees Across the U.S.

Did you know that World Relief Chicagoland is just one office location among 17 other U.S. offices of World Relief? As we welcome refugees and serve immigrants throughout the Chicago area, we know that across the country, other offices are doing their part to welcome new arrivals to their cities! Each shares a vision for…

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What Is It Like to Intern with World Relief?

Real Responsibilities, Meaningful Experience Are you looking for an internship where you can gain practical experience? Do you have a passion for justice or a desire to learn about issues faced by refugee and immigrants? From the start, as a World Relief Chicagoland intern, you have real responsibilities. With that comes the opportunity to engage…

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4 Resources From World Relief Staff That Have Shaped Their Journey: MLK Day

At World Relief, we are committed to welcoming refugees and immigrants as they rebuild their lives in the United States. Together, we’ve come alongside over 40,000 people seeking refuge in Chicagoland. Yet there still remains over 80 million people displaced from their homes around the world. This reminds us of Martin Luther King Jr. when…

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An Update on How the H.O.M.E. Program Is Serving Asylum Seekers Throughout Chicagoland

The following update is from Hannah Thompson, World Relief Chicagoland’s Immigrant Family Services Volunteer Coordinator who works with staff and community volunteers in the H.O.M.E. program for asylum seekers. What is H.O.M.E.? World Relief Chicagoland created the H.O.M.E. program with the knowledge that asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable immigrants. Like refugees, asylum seekers…

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Something New: A Devotional for 2022

by Gaby Keim, Changemaker Team Lead With a very unpredictable year behind us, we step forward into 2022. We may find ourselves yet again in the unpredictability, but we can have confidence that God is about to do something new just as he has done for generations before. What could that “something new” be for…

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Reflections on 2021 from Executive Director Susan Sperry

The following letter is from Susan Sperry, World Relief Chicagoland’s Executive Director, who oversees World Relief’s work across three offices in Aurora, Chicago (Albany Park), and DuPage County (Carol Stream) and shared her leadership reflections at the close of 2021. Read more of Susan’s thoughts by following her on Twitter! To all of World Relief…

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Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Welcome to World Relief Chicagoland’s first annual holiday gift guide! We’ve created a holiday gift guide that creates change with every gift you buy. When you purchase a gift from the holiday gift guide, you’ll be a part of building welcoming communities for refugees and immigrants. So, what are you waiting for? This holiday season,…

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Receiving to Give: Agali’s Story

As a client of World Relief and recipient of locally raised funds, Agali realizes the impact that the community had in shaping his story. The Hopeful Journey Following his arrival to the United States on September 27th, Agali didn’t know when he would work again. Settling in the United States consumed the next month of his and…

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Advent Prayer Guide: Taking Heart

We dwell in a world still racked with extreme poverty, violence, mass displacement, and suffering. Covid-19 continues to expose these realities of injustice in new and overwhelming ways, and it feels debilitating. Advent is a moment to enter in, hold these realities, bring the grief we carry, sit in the brokenness, and long together for…

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5 Impacts of Resettling Refugees

What happens when countries increase refugee resettlement? The current U.S. presidential administration recently announced that the refugee ceiling for the 2022 federal fiscal year (which began on October 1, 2021, and will continue through September 30, 2022) will be 125,000. Reaching this number will be difficult. Policy changes from the former presidential administration and the…

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Loving Patient Care

December 16, 2020 Article by Robert Carroll In this month’s feature, read how an immigrant from Sierra Leone is now using her skill as a nurse, and her compassion for people in need, to help a refugee woman with her years-long health crisis. The name of the patient has been changed for privacy reasons. Life as…

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It Takes a Village

It was 3 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon when we got the call. A woman in the Congolese community had contracted COVID-19 — the first of what would turn out to be many cases for the Congolese living in the Quad Cities area. My mind raced with questions as we worked to determine the best…

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An Invitation to Reflection

Last week, our U.S. staff gathered together for a time of prayer and lament for the life of George Floyd and the many others who have lost their lives due to systemic racism this year. World Relief’s Karen Gonzalez led our team through a devotional on the Emmaus Road and challenged us all to be…

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The Path to Advocacy: Guillermo’s Story Navigating the American Legal System

The American legal system is often a new and complex experience for recently resettled immigrants. Many participants in World Relief Memphis (WRM) programming need help navigating these complex legal systems. Guillermo Enrique, a former WRM program participant and current volunteer, experienced this struggle firsthand and now seeks to support immigrant communities with legal navigation through…

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Stronger Together: Olympian Susie Luby

Susie Luby and Amanda Banta sitting next together.

Susie Luby, who won the bronze medal in Alpine downhill skiing in 1972, started volunteering for World Relief Spokane in February of this year. Before that, she said the refugee situation wasn’t really on her radar. “Not at all.”

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