Grace’s work in assisting asylum seekers continues through our membership in the interfaith organization, NBARC (Newton Brookline Asylum Resettlement Committee). Together with volunteers from five other congregations, we have been helping individuals and families who are fleeing persecution in other countries due to their race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion.
Over the past year we have supported seven family groups from seven different countries. Of those seven families, four have moved from homeless dependency to complete self-sufficiency.
- Most recently, the young Yazidi family whose toddler was severely burned in a Syrian refugee campfire, has moved on. They were housed for more than a year in host family’s home while the child received treatment at Shriners for his burns. Now they are renting an apartment in a close-knit Yazidi community in Lincoln, Nebraska. The father has a driver’s license, he is finding employment, and the family’s spirits are high.
- The single mother from Cameroon and her three-year-old are now living independently in the Burlington area.
- The young woman from Ecuador, mother of two children, one of whom was born under NBARC’s watch, has joined her husband in Haiti.
- The Ethiopian family of four is now living independently in Malden where the two young boys are in school and the father is employed in a software company in Burlington.
These four success stories are a tribute to the contribution of time, resources, and financial support from the Grace community, together with volunteers from the five other NBARC congregations. Many thanks for all that you have done so far.
There is more to be done. The numbers of asylum seekers have grown in recent months, and the difficulties they face have grown as well.
Currently NBARC is supporting three more families in host homes in Newton.
- We have a single mother from Kenya who is housed with a Newton Center host family and has been receiving job training through Jewish Vocational Services. She just obtained her work authorization so that she can seek employment while her daughter is in preschool.
- Another young woman from Uganda is living with a host family in West Newton and working to obtain enough money for her own apartment.
- Our third client is a young woman from Colombia whom many of you have met and welcomed over the summer when she attended Grace. She is also housed here in Newton and hopes to continue her education toward a degree in psychology if and when her asylum status is approved.
NBARC’s goal is to provide support for as many asylum seeking families as possible. Our most urgent need is for host housing. Once we have established a place for a family or single person to live, then we can determine what other needs must be met: clothing, access to food pantries, community resources, job training, ELL tutoring, and friendly support.