Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services is a refugee resettlement agency based in Cleveland, Ohio. The mission of the organization is to assist refugee populations that are entering the United States with the transition into their new lives. The organization provides support to help these newcomers achieve self-sufficiency and independence in their new lives in the United States. Catholic Charities MRS works with refugee populations in Cleveland from Bhutan, Burma, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine. Our clients may flee their home countries for reasons such as persecution based on religion, race, tribe, gender or political opinions, oppressive regimes in their home countries, and war that has ravaged and displaced their communities in their home country.
I am proud to be taking part in some of the work that this amazing organization does this summer! Working in the office looks a lot different than it typically would due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is still a lot of important work that needs to be done! I am primarily working in the Reception and Placement program, which assists newly arrived refugees in the first 90 days of their arrival to the United States. Some of the tasks that I have executed this summer include: scheduling doctor’s appointments for clients, assisting in the process of applying for programs such as food stamps and Medicaid, and taking donations such as soap, kitchen supplies, and toys to newly arrived families. Also, I have been assisting clients with building their resumes, getting their groceries, and transporting them to and from various appointments. My favorite part of this summer internship is the interactions that I have been able to share with these clients. Getting to meet some of these refugees and seeing how strong they are and learning about the backgrounds that they are coming from further inspires me to advocate for those that are on the margins of society. I love being able to participate in these human to human connections, even if they are briefer than they otherwise would be due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It through these connections that I am seeing the humanness in others that come from different backgrounds than my own, teaching myself the valuable skills of respecting differences, showing empathy and compassion, and opening my eyes and heart to embracing new perspectives on the world.
There are many ways that Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee services can be supported. The main way is through donations. When new families arrive, they are in desperate need of basic necessities such as clothing and shoes, household supplies such as kitchenware, bed sheets, comforters, pillows, cleaning supplies, and laundry detergent, body wash, deodorant and shampoo, and much more. MRS is always looking for donations of some of the items above and much more. Your help would be much appreciated and would go a long way in helping out the refugees in the Cleveland area in their transition to this new life. Another way to promote the mission of MRS is to be kind and compassionate to those that are on the margins in our communities, especially to refugees. In a country where these people too often feel ostracized by those around them, a smiling face and a kind wave can go a long way in making them feel valued and wanted. Be open to experiencing different ways of life, learn to respect these differences, and continue to be a voice for those that do not have a voice! To put it in an even more simple way: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, regardless of what country that neighbor comes from, what race they might be or what language they speak!
For more information on Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services and to find ways to get involved, please visit https://ccdocle.org/migration-and-refugee-services