The role of the local community in refugee resettlement
Co-sponsorship is an opportunity for a congregation, organization or individual to assist a refugee family in making the transition to living in the United States. A co-sponsor assists with initial material support (e.g. furnishing, food, clothes, etc.) and social support. We invite your church family, women's group, men's group, youth group or small group to welcome refugees
Co-sponsor a refugee family
Co-sponsors provide the friendship support that makes such a difference as the family adjusts to this new culture. To know there are those that care about how you are doing makes a huge impact, and the experience transforms the co-sponsor. This is a 6-month commitment enabling a family to move toward independence.
Become a Friendship Partner
- Collect household items. See list of needed items
- Welcome the family at the airport
- Provide a warm meal for their first day in Buffalo
- Invite them on an outing or to your church
Sponsor an apartment
We resettle more than 200 refugees a year and need your help in setting up apartments. Refugees arrive with little to nothing. Many have lived in refugee camps for years and this is the first opportunity to have their own place. You can donate your own new or gently used items or gather them from your church or community to lovingly furnish and supply an apartment.
Historically, the U.S. refugee program has been characterized as an effective model of public-private partnership. Through private and government funding, and with the help of concerned individuals and voluntary organizations, refugees are properly resettled, adjust to their new homes and achieve early self-sufficiency.
Often local organizations, such as faith groups and local voluntary organizations in the community, agree to serve as co-sponsors for newly arriving refugees. Generally, co-sponsors are asked to make a three-month commitment to assist refugees with core services, including:
- Transportation to appointments and job interviews
- Help with job applications, interview skills and work practices
- School enrollment
- English training
- Cultural orientation
- Emotional support
Individuals who are not a part of a co-sponsoring organization are encouraged to volunteer one-on-one with a refugee. Here are some typical needs:
- English Tutoring - For many refugees, learning English is the first step to achieving self-sufficiency. Volunteers help children with homework and adults with learning the vocabulary needed to secure a job.
- Mentoring - A mentor can help a refugee adjust to American culture by sharing knowledge and experience, such as by showing how to navigate the bus system, explaining use of bank accounts, or taking a child to a museum.
- Translation - Bilingual individuals can share their foreign language skills by translating a document or interpreting at a parent-teacher conference.
- Health Care - Although Medicaid provides limited medical services to refugees, volunteers are needed to help refugees navigate the health care system and connect with free or reduced-rate routine medical care and services to heal from the physical or emotional trauma they may have endured.
- Employment Advocacy - Most refugees have valuable work skills and are ready to work soon after arrival in their new communities. Volunteers are needed to locate job openings, help complete job applications and assist in interview preparation.
The emphasis of co-sponsorship is transitioning refugees to independence, especially economically and occupationally, as quickly as possible. As a refugee ceases to be a refugee and becomes a neighbor and friend, we are all enriched.
For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Andy Cammarata, Community Liason at (716) 573-6121 or Send Email