The UNHCR describes the situation like this: "Imagine being forced to flee your country in order to escape to safety. If you were lucky you had time to pack a bag. If not, you simply dropped everything and ran." Every year over 600 new residents move to Spokane from all over the world, coming here as their home country is unsafe for them either because of war, religious persecution or other circumstances and is unsafe to return to. There are several ways that you can help with former refugees here in Spokane through World Relief. The main way that we have helped at Communitas is as "cultural companions" in which we befriend former refugees in the name of Christ - welcoming them in as new friends. You don't need a certain skillset for this other than being willing to be a friend. You drink tea, show them how to get to appointments and ride the bus here in Spokane and share life together. We have several people doing this already at Communitas. Two couples that you could talk to to find out more are:
English Club at Roosevelt
There are currently over 60 kids in the process of learning English at Roosevelt Elementary. In the Fall of 2014 we started volunteering to help in an afterschool program that now meets three days a week. There are two great women that work at Roosevelt that run this after school club, and one of them is a part of Communitas and would love to help you get involved reading with, or helping a kid with their homework after school. You can help for up to three days a week and the commitment is only about an hour a week. Contact Mia Ernst about getting involved
Family Promise is on a mission to help create a commuity where no family is homeless. They believe that every family needs shelter and support to sustain their independence. Currently there are over 2,000 children who are homeless in Spokane County. Family Promise could use several volunteers every day. If you are interested in helping these families, please email Marianne and let her know!
Cup of Cool Water
Cup of Cool Water is a nonprofit organizaiton in downtown Spokane that walks alongside youth who are homeless. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, they build healthy relationships, provide services, and disciple street youth. They provide a safe, peaceful space where youth can experience respite from street culture. They also meet some of their basic needs. Contact Aaron Bracht if you're interested in volunteering