This week we’re featuring Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit based in Ithaca, New York whose goal is help welcome, orient, and settle newly arrived refugees in Ithaca and the surrounding areas.
1) What does IWR do to help refugees in Ithaca ?
IWR currently provides a variety of services, and we’re continuously looking to grow to respond to additional needs faced by local refugee families. Our Resettlement Team helps refugees move in to their new homes. We collect donated furniture and purchase food and consumable supplies like paper towels, etc. When a new family arrives, this team of volunteers helps furnish and stock their new home. Our Community Welcoming Team helps newly arrived refugees become acclimated to the broader local community. This takes many forms and includes a partnership with Catholic Charities of Tompkins and Tioga County to provide Cultural Orientation Training. Our Advocacy Team is a relatively new initiative. This team focuses on helping the local community learn about the experiences of refugees. We also provide cash grants to help refugees address urgent needs.
2) How did IWR get started ?
IWR began as a steering committee –a group of community members who came together to brainstorm what local people could do to respond to the global refugee crisis.
3) What have been some of your most successful programs ?
We are proud of all of our efforts; we are especially proud of how enthusiastically our community has responded to this cause. Hundreds of people have expressed interest in volunteering for IWR. As an organization, we are constantly working to figure out how to give people the opportunity to channel their energy and talents in a way to help refugees.
4) Why did you decide to use Katie Miranda jewelry at your recent fundraisers ?
IWR was thrilled to receive support from Katie Miranda Jewelry. An artist whose work is inspired by the beauty of the Arabic language is a natural partner for our organization, which is focused on celebrating all cultures. We are also particularly excited to work with local business owners, as local businesses play a key role in building a welcoming and vibrant community.
5) What’s was your fundraising goal(s) and how will those funds benefit refugees in your future projects
Money IWR raises helps to support all the work we do to support refugees. It also helps ensure the sustainability of the organization. We are looking to expand our services; currently, we are working to launch Global Roots Playschool, which will offer childcare to the children of refugee families and other children in the local community. This will offer an opportunity for families from many different cultures to come together to create a nurturing environment. It will also make it easier for refugee and immigrant parents to attend ESOL classes by ensuring they have access to childcare.