Welcome the Stranger
Refugee Ministry Advocates
Elsa Amboy and Melissa Kreisa
RECENT OUTREACH INFORMATION:
Congregations are partnering together with Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Division and other community organizations to support refugees who are starting a new life here in the Bay Area.
Refugees are our new neighbors have come to us fleeing the chaos of war and persecution. They cannot return to their homelands. Many are women and children. All have lost family, jobs, homes and support systems.
Catholic Charities provides a temporary home for some of these newly arrived refugees at one of two church-sponsored transitional houses in Santa Clara County. Residents usually stay here for three to six months and then move on to more permanent housing. During this time, they have intensive English lessons and learn job skills so they can become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.
There is a continuous need for dedicated volunteers to welcome and assist newly arrived refugees and their families in as well as to provide home-based support in other locations around the Bay Area.
Other ways you can help
There are 14 million refugees in the world today, 75% of whom are women and children. Less than a 1/2 percent ever make it out to begin a new life in another country such as the United States.
Refugees are survivors; they are highly motivated to build a new life here. They need help in their first year in the U.S. but they bring with them many spiritual gifts. Welcoming the stranger is a central part of our Christian faith.
Consider being a Foster Parent for unaccompanied minors coming toour area:
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is the non-profit agency that is responsible for resettling refugees (people who have had to leave their country due to religious or other discrimination, political or social unrest) from around the world who make their way through the complex maze of arrangements in Washington D.C. to our area (about 40 or so per year coming from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia). Most of these people are single adults, families or parts of families. Occasionally, teenagers and children are part of this exodus; many have been orphaned or separated from their families intheir country of origin.
The Presbytery of San Jose has had a long partnership with Catholic Charities to help in various ways with this resettlement effort in our area (we have helped make backpacks full of supplies to hand refugees as they arrive at the airport, some of our churches have adopted families, we have helped with setting up apartments, finding furnishings, hosting refugee events and in general, extending hospitality).
Currently there are a teenagers seeking foster care until they are oldenough to begin their life here as an adult. To become a foster parent for one of these youth you can be single or married, have a family or not, and you will be supported completely by Catholic Charities (financial support and health insurance for the minor youth, educational support and tutoring, health, mental health and legal services, independent living skill training and cultural and recreational activities are provided. Need more information? Contact Coleen Higa at Catholic Charities:
"For I was a stranger and you invited me in. 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25: 35-40
© 2008 The Presbytery of San José