VISA ADVOCACY The men and women who helped the U.S. military or programs with USAID or the Army Corps of Engineers may qualify for Special Immigrant Visas to come to the U.S. if their lives are in danger from their service, and they have worked two or more years for the U.S. The United Nations reports that an interpreter or support personnel is killed every 36 hours. It truly is a life or death situation for these men and women, some of whom have to go into hiding or flee the country facing a perilous journey trying to get to Turkey or Greece. You can help assist these SIV applicants find much needed U.S. contacts for letters of support of their service, or help military personnel advocate for their interpreter. Time commitment is between 2-5 hours per week for one case. Training is required.
CARING CIRCLES You can help a newly-arrived family by being part of a Caring Circle. From meeting at the airport, to helping navigate the necessities of life in Rochester, like using an ATM or learning on-line banking and the bus lines, a Caring Circle of 3-5 friends or a group offers a new family friendship and hope. Be creative! Visit museums, parks, the Public Market, and show our families the best of our Rochester region. The time commitment for a Caring Circle is between 2-5 hours per week for 6-9 months. A minimum of a weekly check-in with the family is required. Training is offered.
COMMUNITY SPONSORSHIPS Your church, synagogue, mosque or community organization can sponsor an SIV family for one year, and you do not have to be in Rochester to help! This is an easy way to help when your church, synagogue, mosque, organization or community group is not near Rochester. A sponsorship runs $6,000 for an individual or couple, and $8,000 for a family to cover resettlement costs. A group of 20 people, each contributing $7.70/week, can support a war-time allied family, assisting with rent, food and a modest vehicle.
WHEELS FOR WORK! Vehicles for our families to get to work are an essential part of our successful resettlement program. Studies show that low income people with cars are twice as likely to find a job and four times as likely to stay employed. In addition, unreliable transportation is one of the primary reasons why they lose their jobs. Our families arrive with only one or two suitcases each, and limited abilities to get to jobs or appointments. We work with each family to help one person per family get their license. Our car grants for each family are limited to $3,000, and the family must have a minimum of 50 hours volunteer time to qualify. You can help with our Wheels for Work program by donating your used vehicle, or helping to fund-raise for a modest car grant. It only takes 500 people donating 600 pennies each to fund a car!
FUNDRAISING - EVERYONE CAN HELP! There are many fun ways the community can help fund the first month's rent, food or a modest vehicle to help a newly-arrived Afghan, Iraqi or Kurdish wartime ally family to Rochester. Schools, social clubs, families have all thought of meaningful creative ways to help a family who arrives with only clothes, and dreams of a new life in Rochester. Community members have held Henna & tea parties, car washes, on-line gaming tournaments, bowling, dinner parties with friends, yard sales, spaghetti dinners. We also have space and a large kitchen available for hosting private fund-raising events in the Park Ave. neighborhood in Rochester, as well as in Irondequoit where you can invite all of your friends for a memorable evening of traditional Afghan and Iraq foods and music. If you have an idea, and wish to help a family, click the link below!
VOLUNTEER There are many ways you can help! Apartment setups, sorting in-kind donations, ride to appointments, or even doing an Eagle Scout project like Matt did by making coffee tables as a gift for our new families. Volunteers are always welcome!