Office Director Kenneth Primus shares an update with World Relief Tri Cities friends and partners.
Friends of World Relief Tri Cities,
Thank you for your faithful work of welcome with World Relief, creating a community of love and welcome for our immigrant neighbors together with us. We all know the past 3 years have been tumultuous. COVID, dual crisis in Afghanistan and Ukraine, along with inflation and economic change have spurred our office to adapt and grow with the times. And in this season of change, as we look for opportunities to better serve vulnerable neighbors here in our community, we are reaching out for your renewed partnership.
Local impact – Lasting change
Our staff has tripled since 2020, while our roster of active volunteers has also grown from 4 to 17. Welcoming only 49 refugees in 2021, our staff welcomed 168 refugees in 2022, plus 72 Afghan Parolees. This year we are on our way to welcome 240 refugees and we anticipate as many as 350 refugees in FY2024. We have also served 482 Ukrainian Parolees over the past 8 months! We are so encouraged by this long awaited growth.
This growth challenges us to focus not only on our clients but on our community as a whole. To better serve our community, we have planned new program opportunities that include expanded Immigration Legal Services, Vocational Language classes, semi-monthly workshops focused on life skills, and tuition assistance for vocational training and certification. Additionally we have planned for community focused “Refugee Simulation” events to provide insight on the refugee experience, and as always, community outreach and church mobilization. We will also be supporting the Administration’s new “Welcome Corps” private sponsorship program for anyone who wants to personally sponsor a refugee.
You can help
This growth is only possible together – we can’t do this without your help! Within the next two weeks we’ll be posting five new, full-time positions for Caseworkers, Employment Specialist, and Community Outreach personnel. Watch our Facebook page and Open Positions Page for these postings and please share these positions with your networks or consider applying personally. If full-time isn’t an option for you, then please consider Volunteering.
As always, we are also seeking donors. Rent went up 35-50% last year, but the stipend we receive from the State Department we receive for each refugee increased less than 5%. This is just the starkest example of where inflation has affected our operation.
Additional needs include transportation and housing for our Office staff. We have a 2000 Windstar that is on it’s last legs. Other than our personal vehicles, this van is our only means of taking clients to appointments, bringing them home from the airport, or helping them move into their new home. Please spread the word that we are looking for a good deal on a used van (or two).
Finally, our office space has not kept pace with the increased staff and client lists. If anyone has real estate connections or knows of some office space that might be available please let us know, (our lease expires in May). You can reach us at TriCitiesOffice@wr.org.
Thank you for your prayers, your voice, and your continued support. Please continue this journey with us as we strive to make the Tri Cites and more welcoming place!