Each year thousands of refugees come to the border seeking work or asylum in the United States. These individuals and families are seeking opportunities for a better life, and many may face great personal risk by returning home. Resettlement in the U.S. offers refugees the chance to rebuild their lives in safety and security, but refugees still face many challenges to adapting and thriving in their new environment.
Most refugees have left their homes unwillingly and often with only the clothes on their backs. Many have experienced or witnessed traumatic events before arriving in the United States. They must then start over from scratch in a place where they often know little or nothing of the language and culture. They may struggle to support themselves economically or struggle with isolation and stress which can lead to mental health issues.
The amount of support that they receive from both formal and informal social networks is an important factor in refugee success. Access to supportive networks can prevent or diminish mental health problems and problems with drugs or alcohol.
Refugees with strong support systems are better able to share their experiences with others, reduce their stress levels, and access crucial services like health care. And having access to a faith community or similar organization where they can make connections, both with other refugees and with the wider community, helps refugees navigate the resettlement process.
St. Jude League Community Development fund projects that aid migrants and refugees in a variety of ways:
- Casa San Oscar Romero assists refugees in Juarez, Mexico by providing them with food, shelter, clothing, and other basic living needs, as well as legal assistance to help them on their journey.
- Campesino Outreach at St. Anthony Mary Claret Parish in Fresno, California provides food, clothing, medical supplies, and other needs to agricultural workers living in eight migrant camps located around Fresno County.
- The Bethany House of Hospitality offers housing and support services to young women and children seeking asylum, serving as a stepping-stone from migrant youth detention centers and provides guidance in seeking employment, securing stable housing, accessing critical services like immigrant attorneys and health care, and learning the life skills needed to live on their own. During their stay at the Bethany House, these women have access to English as a Second Language courses as well as GED and college-level courses.
- Friends in Solidarity is a collaborative ministry supporting religious work in South Sudan and surrounding countries that envisions a just and peaceful society in Africa built upon the values of collaboration, inclusivity and solidarity between and among peoples, cultures, generations and nations. Friends in Solidarity focuses on capacity building initiatives including training teachers, health care professionals, and pastoral teams to help empower the people in these communities to create a sustainable future.
Your donation to the St. Jude League Community Development will provide much needed support for the refuges and migrants in these communities. To learn more visit our Programs page or lend your support today.
Read more about SJL Community Development’s influence through Health & Wellness programs on our What’s New page.