Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Help us support tutors for refugee children!

The SPC Outreach Team invites you to Support an Additional Tutoring Day for Refugee Children Provided by RefugeeNet at St. Mark’s in City Heights. 

The St. Paul’s Outreach Team will match all donations up to $750!

What does it mean to be a “refugee” in this great lumpy, global melting pot? No house, no territory that claims you, no bank account, lost and missing relatives, no prescription refills, hunger that cannot be satisfied, no safe place to lay your children’s heads, no car or bus pass, all legal identification destroyed… It’s the kindness of strangers… it is the way of Jesus… that is what you wish for. Will kindness ever find you, the lost one?

Transport your mind into a refugee… you are probably a woman, a child, or a family- a lucky status because that is the profile of most refugees in the U.S. You have luckily found yourself shuffled into a camp somewhere abroad run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and accepted as someone who is “persecuted” (this term has a precise definition).

If the United Nations High Commissioner has recommended you to be resettled in the U.S. you are sent to a U.S. Resettlement Support Center somewhere outside of America. 18- 24 months later you have experienced background checks by the National Counter-Terrorism Center, FBI, Department of State, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland security. You have been put through a battery of international biographic and biometric intelligence and law enforcement databases, and screened at least twice for various medical conditions.

The good news is… you have been sent to a U.S. Resettlement Agency, still located abroad, who cooperatively works with the International Organization for Migration. Once more, you must pass a Department of Homeland Security screening, and are also approved for an interest-free loan to buy your tickets to the United States! Already in debt before you reach the “golden door”!

Refugees sent to the San Diego region are assigned to a Private Resettlement Agency contracted by the U.S. government to look after the well-being of the refugee for 30- 90 days. The four federally contracted agencies in our area are the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Charities, Alliance for African Assistance, and Jewish Family Service of San Diego. These federally contracted private resettlement agencies oversee availability of food, housing, clothing, employment services, medical care, etc.

After the 90 days of support has come and gone, the Episcopal Refugee Network (RefugeeNet) steps in, devoted to helping refugees become fully-participating residents helping with documentation, enrolling children at school and providing tutoring, Social Security registration, translation services, a food bank, small loans when jobs are lost, and help in finding apartments. RefugeeNet is a non-profit supported by donations.

St. Paul’s supports RefugeeNet by our school backpack and shoe drives (coming soon!) and by providing volunteer after school tutors, and now an opportunity for a monetary gift to expand the tutoring hours. The Outreach Team will match your donation up to $750 to expand tutoring on Fridays for one year. Please make checks out to St. Paul’s Cathedral with “RefugeeNet” tutoring in the memo.

Paula Peeling and outreach committee

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