RefugeeConnect Welcomes Afghan Refugees to Cincinnati
RefugeeConnect’s mission is to connect refugees (people forced to flee their country to escape persecution or war) with resources to rebuild their lives as United States citizens. The Junior League of Cincinnati launched RefugeeConnect in 2013 after a routine community needs assessment determined that connecting refugees to existing resources was a pressing need for women and children in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. In 2018, RefugeeConnect became an independent nonprofit and today offers support to refugees across the region to navigate often unfamiliar systems, new cultural norms, and language barriers. RefugeeConnect promotes coordinated services so that this specific population of new Americans, who may be unaware of the patchwork of crucial resources already in place, reach their full potential as individuals, families, and civic and community leaders. Programs such as our Community Navigator program ensure that refugee families have access to information and resources in their native language. Our Community Navigators are cultural leaders, many of whom came here as refugees themselves. A Community Navigator will work to develop a strong relationship with identified families in need and help them navigate often complex and confusing systems while supporting a family’s long-term goals.
Our work is not done in a silo, as we recognize that for refugees to be successful in their new communities, we must all work together to create a more welcoming, safe, and supportive environment for our newest neighbors. This is why we partner with over 150 organizations and service providers across the region to ensure that refugees can access the myriad of social, financial, and health supports that will enable them to thrive. We partner with other nonprofits, faith communities, and healthcare providers through a collaborative effort to make the Greater Cincinnati area truly a welcoming city.
As the current administration announced that it will raise the Presidential ceiling of new refugee admittances to the United States and as the crisis unfolds in Afghanistan and we evacuate Afghan allies and process SIV applicants (special immigrant visas), we are preparing to welcome more refugees into our city. Our hope is that as there becomes a greater awareness of refugees across the globe and the need to resettle them, more people in our community will come forward as supporters and help us to welcome our newest neighbors.
RefugeeConnect specifically needs support through private donorship and volunteerism. You can donate directly to support our Community Navigator program, our Scholarship fund, or to assist our general operations by visiting our website at https://www.refugeeconnect.org/ . We are always looking for people who want to be more involved through volunteerism, such as being a peer or family mentor to a college aged student or family, sitting on a planning committee for our fundraising events, or helping us with administrative tasks. As the local resettlement agency, Catholic Charities of SW Ohio, prepares to welcome new refugees, they also need assistance with finding affordable housing to place refugee families, household goods, and volunteer support. Please, visit their website at https://www.ccswoh.org/programs/refugee-resettlement-services/ to learn more.