In addition to partial rent support, we are organizing to welcome refugee families well. We are forming Support Teams - each with five adults, who complete adult and child protection, cultural, and trauma awareness training - and who play defined roles supporting a family as they settle in the area.
Over 50 people have stepped forward to join a Support Team or otherwise lend volunteer support to the Welcoming Refugees effort so far, as we build a community of neighbors by making Falls Church more welcoming to refugees.
Are you interested in organizing or leading a team, working with friends, your church, temple, or mosque, or another organization, or in joining an established team? Please let us know by filling out this form! Please note: filling out our Support Team Interest Form does not obligate you to any specific volunteer role. We will be in touch with you to confirm how and when you’d get involved. (Thank you for filling out the form – it will enable us to form teams well.)
Here are some of the specific roles that volunteers can play as we prepare for incoming families:
Support Team roles, tasks, and responsibilities:
- OVERALL TEAM LEAD or CO-LEAD--coordinator of relationship with family and Support Team colleagues, and point of contact for our resettlement agency partner, Catholic Charities Dioscese of Arlington-Migration & Refugee Services (CCDA) (training and scheduling)
- FURNITURE/FURNISHING--coordinates with CCDA based on the size of the family and furniture requirements, as well as with the landlord for the configuration of the apartment or home; co-leads "move-in day" and works with family after move-in to identify needs for additional furniture and furnishings
- WELCOME HOME--coordinates with CCDA based on the size of the family, to organize sub-teams to support four functions: a) provide Welcome Home Kit of household goods; b) stock the pantry with first month's groceries; c) provide seasonal clothing for family members (based on needs); d) if the family will be welcoming a baby in the near future, provide appropriate furnishings and baby supplies
- AIRPORT ARRIVAL and WELCOME MEAL--when applicable and in coordination with CCDA, arrange to meet the family at the airport and take them to their new home, as well as provide their first meal upon arrival
- ESOL SUPPORT--coordinates with the Welcoming Falls Church Adult & Family Literacy Center and provides informal tutorial support
- RIDES and LOCAL LOGISTICS--willing to help with visits to doctors, government offices, etc.; help family members learn how to use public transportation
- COMMUNITY CONNECTION--ongoing coordination with Welcoming FC and community organizations (schools, City, etc.) to support school registration and connect people locally, etc.
- CHILD CARE SUPPORT--occasional babysitting for job interviews and other appointments
Longer term roles, tasks, and responsibilities - note these roles involve working with multiple Support Teams and with more than one Support Team:
- ESOL-- teach, serve as assistant teacher, or tutor with Welcoming FC's Adult & Family Literacy Center; ensure that family members are enrolled in English classes as quickly as possible; coordinate transportation to classes as needed
- HOUSING-- work with landlords (apartments and single family houses) and develop and support Welcoming FC's Welcoming Landlord Network
- JOB MENTORING-- in conjunctions with CCDA and coordinating with resources available in Falls Church; support family members in their job search and develop Welcoming FC's Welcoming Employer Network
- COMMUNITY GUIDE-- get people involved and together! serve as coordinating reference for community activities and opportunities to get involved in Falls Church; expand their circle of acquaintances
- CHILD CARE SUPPORT-- offer occasional babysitting for job interviews and other appointments
- SCHOOL TUTORING-- be a tutor and "study buddy" for school-age children
- APARTMENT/HOUSE FURNISHING-- help with "move-in days" with multiple families, supporting Support Teams with know-how and experience
- GENERAL ADMINISTRATION-- help Welcoming FC with partnerships, administration, finance, etc.
- COMMUNICATIONS-- help with communications including management of translations of certain documents
Contact us. If you have any questions email Rebecca Shaw, Welcoming Refugees Volunteer Coordinator. High school students can even play certain roles and should email Caroline Fleury, Welcoming Refugees Student Volunteer Coordinator for more information, and to get involved. We look forward to meeting you. Thank you for your interest!