Mission: To connect refugees with resources to rebuild their lives as United States citizens.
Impact 100 Funded Project: The Community Navigator Program connects refugee families with the resources needed to help increase a family’s ability to integrate successfully into their new communities, enhancing partnerships between parents and schools, and helping families reach their goals and build new lives.
Progress-to-Date: Since starting the Impact 100 grant, RefugeeConnect has reached 77 new families, of which 19 are working directly with the 2 Navigators supported by the grant. In addition, family stability funds have supported 13 families in accessing financial support around rental assistance, securing new housing, paying for housing repairs, supporting car repairs and helping to put payment towards a new car, helping pay funeral costs for an unexpected death, providing reprieve for a family who had experienced an assault, furnishing new homes, assisting with tax prep costs, and helping a family pay for their marriage license.
Meet A Community Navigator: We can all remember how difficult it was to be a teen: figuring out who you are and the pressure to fit in. Can you imagine navigating your teen years in a different country than the one you were raised in? RefugeeConnect Navigator, Susmita, bravely did so when her family moved to the United States in 2014. At only 14, she found herself in a new school without understanding much of the language spoken, but – thanks to the support of the school and other community members – she was able to learn the language quickly and become one of the first members of her family to adapt to their new home. She not only showed strength and resilience but also showed that her humble and compassionate personality were not going to change, regardless of the circumstances. At a young age, she became the advocate for her family, helping read the family mail and following up with any processes needed for resettlement.
Susmita currently balances her college responsibilities with her role as a Navigator at RefugeeConnect. She recalls fondly how her community rallied around her family, providing support and assistance when they needed it; she is thus thrilled to have the opportunity to return the favor, contributing to her community by connecting them to resources and helping newcomers adapt to their new home. She also reminds refugees to give themselves time and grace during the resettlement process. Susmita feels empowered by belonging to the Navigator team of RefugeeConnect. She shares that it is an honor to be part of a group of individuals (mostly women) who has shown the resilience to thrive in a new country, speak multiple languages, and have the compassion to offer all their achievements back to their communities.
Inspired to get involved? Refugee Connect has multiple opportunities to get involved. Find out more here.