It’s been amazing to watch so many people step up this year and find ways to get serve the refugee community, but I also know there are many more people who are searching for ways to get involved.
Over the years, I’ve learned about many resources and organizations so people can meet their refugee neighbors and support this population So, I thought it was time I share all these, especially since World Refugee Day is on June 20th.
Whether you are a Denver local or not, here are many ways you start meeting your refugee neighbors.
Remember all organizations need TWO things – VOLUNTEERS and DOLLARS to keep their doors open. If you don’t have time, consider donating funds or other goods. If you don’t have extra cash, then give a Saturday or two, or better yet, become a long-term volunteer.
Here are some great organizations to consider:
There are a few main resettlement agencies in Denver. If you live in a resettlement city, you should be able to discover who is handling the refugees coming into your area pretty easily with a quick Google search. You can also use this online tool to find out what resources are in your neighborhood.
Here in Denver, refugees are resettled through:
All of these resettlement organizations (and ones near you) could use:
- Volunteer time – like becoming a family mentor, which I recommend as a highly rewarding-hands-on use of volunteer hours – I did this with a Burmese family and Ukrainian family and it was amazing.
- Donated goods – such as household items to help refugees get set up with an apartment, etc.
- Job information – Do you own a company? Need childcare or have other ways to help refugees get employed?
Resettlement agencies primarily help families find housing, become literate, and get employment, but in no ways are their services limited to this.
Are you in Denver? Check out this list of needs from the African Community Center for household items and more!
The African American Community Center (ACC) also has the We Made This project, teaching refugees employment skills. They make some incredible hand-made items you can purchase and their fundraiser is coming up on July 21st.
The ACC has also just started to host the ACC Teahouse – a chance for woman, children and other community members to come together to meet one another and support each other. It’s happening every other Tuesday throughout the summer. Check their calendar for details.
Language Development and Job Skills
Emily Griffith Technical College serves the refugee population by providing English language courses. This is where I got started volunteering with refugees by being a “conversation group” leader. The conversations I had with the attendees changed my life and opened my eyes to these remarkable people in our community.
Emily Griffith’s also has a program called Emily’s Coffee that is desperate need of funding. If you have money to give and you have it today – check out their campaign to keep this program going.
Other Organizations and Events
Walk2Connect – Join this incredible local organization for a walk and get out and meet people in your community. There are a variety of walks scheduled around Denver, but ones like the Freedom Walk are specifically geared towards the refugee community.
Project Worthmore is such an incredible organization that is committed to restoring worth and value to the refugee community. Their founder is a forward thinking leader who is very innovative in the work they are doing. I love this organization for many reasons, many because you can tell there is so much heart in their work. They also assist with English classes, housing needs, family mentors, and a food share program. They just completed a Dignity Festival over this weekend.
Picture Me Here is a community building program designed to allow refugees to tell the story of their lives
Growing Colorado Kids is such a unique organization, specifically focusing on Colorado refugee youth. Their program gets kids outdoor and onto a farm, they also include the parents for some events as well. Most importantly, these kids get a chance to build relationships with other refugees and locals, as well as provide some much needed healthy, organically grown produce to bring back to their families. Their annual fundraiser, Sunset on the Farm is happening on 8/26.
The Street Fraternity – Called “a place of brotherhood and personal growth for urban youth,” this organization is doing work to keep youth off the streets in the evening hours by providing them with meals, community, and mentorship.
Upcoming Denver Events
- We Made This Fundraiser – July 21st
- Taste of Ethiopia – Saturday, August 5th
- Denver International Festival – Saturday, August 5th
- Growing Colorado Kids Fundraiser – August 26th
Other ways (outside of Denver) to get information and involved:
I’m sure I’ve missed other great Colorado organizations serving our refugee community, if so, be sure to post a comment and share the organization below.