In response to Rabbi Krishef’s Rosh Hashanah sermon on the Syrian refugee crisis, Karen Libman asked her daughter Michelle Kachman, who works for Lutheran Social services, what we as a congregation could do to help. On Shabbat morning, November 21, Troy Howley, volunteer coordinator, will share information about how we might co-sponsor a newly arrived family.
Each year, close to 700 refugees from all over the world are resettled in the Greater Grand Rapids Area. Refugees are people who are forced out of their homeland by violence, persecution, or torture. Lutheran Social Services of Michigan is in need of volunteers who can assist us in welcoming and walking alongside new refugees as they attempt to start a new life here in our city. All volunteers can expect ongoing training and communication from our local office in order to meet your needs.
Co-sponsors play a key role in the successful resettlement of newly arrived refugees in the United States. By providing a warm welcome, basic needs and practical help, co-sponsors see that the newcomers become self-sufficient and independent as quickly as possible. Co-sponsorship occurs in various ways by helping to meet the practical and emotional needs of the newly arrived refugee family. It is a commitment to welcome the stranger by providing assistance with the sometimes-overwhelming process of cultural adjustment and resettlement. It is not only primarily a matter of financial commitment, but rather of time and energy that often brings life-changing friendships and a greater understanding of uprooted people around the world.