Every month, the IRC in Dallas takes newly arrived refugees on field trips in Dallas to help them acclimate to their new home and build their confidence in using public transportation. With up to thirty participants in attendance every month, these field trips have taken on a life of their own, providing refugee families new experiences of American life and culture.
In August, children and their parents made their way to Splash Water Park to play with hula hoops, enjoy pizza, chips, and watermelon under the pagoda. “It was a regular American picnic”, commented IRC case worker Julie Anderson.
In September, refugees from Bhutan, Burma, and Iraq enjoyed a visit by trolley to the Arts District, where families visited the Crow Collection of Asian Art and enjoyed listening to a local band from Fort Worth. At food trucks parked nearby, some ordered snow cones, while others decided to lunch on hot dogs and hamburgers.
At the Dallas Museum of Art’s Center for Creative Connections, participants interacted with original works of art on display for visitors of all ages.
“We’re hoping to see a trend of clients going to these places again”, remarked Ms. Anderson. That hope is most certainly becoming a reality, as IRC helps refugees enthusiastically copy down addresses and directions to the locations they visit every month.
For October’s field trip, there are plans for an event which will expose IRC clients to American Halloween and early Fall traditions.