2014 Projects

The Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC) held a two-day advocacy and organizing training for 30 refugee leaders in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Community leaders and advocates were brought in to both train and engage participants.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Collaboration—made up of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg; Immigration and Refugee Services, Church World Service of Lancaster; Lutheran Children and Family Services of Lancaster; HIAS Pennsylvania; the Nationalities Service Center of Philadelphia; and Lutheran Children and Family Services of Philadelphia—created a video to help educate and engage local communities by sharing refugee success stories. This video was used to foster an understanding of the refugee community and to educate community members on how to become involved in welcoming refugees.

The International Institute of Erie, the Quality of Life Learning Center, the Multi-Cultural Community Resource Center, the Bhutanese Community Association of Erie, and Catholic Charities Counseling and Adoption Services developed the Thank You Erie Project in Erie, Pennsylvania. Activities included sharing harvests from refugee community gardens, neighborhood clean ups, and increased participation in Neighborhood Watch activities.

The Immigration Taskforce of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod—in collaboration with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America—facilitated personal, face-to-face speaking engagements for refugees with various community members to build relationships, dispel myths, and gain greater understanding and appreciation for one another. These speaking engagements took place at church gatherings, conferences, and meetings of local community organizations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Acculturation for Justice and Peace Outreach and Advance African Development (AJAPO)—based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—provided advocacy and leadership training to ten local refugee women who made public presentations throughout their communities on bullying and financial instability.

The International Institute of Akron, Ohio facilitated a series of welcoming opportunities to bring together new Americans with their neighbors so that they could learn about one another through stories and celebrate the ethnic diversity of the region. Activities included group art project gatherings, a community dinner, and Neighbors Day event.

Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS)—in collaboration with US Together, World Relief Columbus, and TESOL Ohio—began the initial stages of producing a comprehensive report to demonstrate the economic value that refugees bring to the Central Ohio. The finalized report will be disseminated throughout the community on via a collaborative website.

The Immigrant and Refugee Welcome and Support committee, part of Lucas County’s Welcome Toledo-Lucas County program, coordinated meetings between different service, faith, and cultural-based organizations provide education about the needs of local refugee and immigrant communities in and around Toledo, Ohio. The meetings served as a platform to build welcome for local refugees.