I am one of the leaders of the recently formed Afghan Resettlement Team. We are reaching out to island groups to see who would like to be involved.
We are coordinating with the Office of Refugee Resettlement through the Episcopal Diocese. They expect about 2,000 refugees settling locally, mostly in South King County, in the next 6 months.
We are focused on these activities:
- Providing household supplies as families move into apartments. ORR provides a minimum list to outfit kitchens, etc. Furniture is largely provided through a business contract but there are supplemental furniture items we could round up.
- Finding individuals to help refugees practice their English. Classes are minimal—only one hour weekly through Zoom. People willing to help with conversation practice would do that on Zoom. Students would generally be the wives since many of the husbands are bilingual from working with US staff.
- A second type of language practice is for job interviews, also done on Zoom. Practice helps the refugees be prepared for typical questions and an ESL staff person from ORR would be providing assistance.
I am hoping to have a contact person at UU to share info and requests with.
At this time, we aren’t envisioning sponsoring refugees to live on Vashon due to its isolation. However, if the right circumstances present, that could develop.
Please share this info and let me know how you’d like to proceed.
Julia Lakey – 206.851.0169