Celebrating Two Years of Commitment to Refugees
She must have worked hard to hide her satisfied smile as I hastily returned to my desk to finish the email; a Volunteer had just coached the Volunteer Coordinator. But there should be no shame in asking star volunteer, Joanne Finch, a question about IRC policy and procedure; after all, she’s been helping in and around the office just as long as many employees.
Approaching her two year anniversary as a volunteer, Joanne’s list of accomplishments and experiences could fill the page. She’s assisted in nearly every program, interacted with hundreds of refugee clients, and practically knows all the Department of Economic Services employees by name. But her commitment to refugees extends beyond the walls of the IRC and into the community; in fact it was at her local church where Joanne’s eyes first were opened to the plight of the refugees living all around her. Encouraging each other along the way, many of her fellow members at Christ Church United Methodist have also become tireless supporters of refugee rights and well-being, shown most clearly in their partnership with Goshen Ministries, an African congregation which includes many IRC clients.
Reflecting on her experiences Joanne identified a couple “Mosts”:
- Most Dangerous: Teaching refugee friends how to drive her car!
- Most Enjoyable: Pumpkin picking with IRC Clients and Iskashitaa Harvesting Network.
- Most Challenging: Learning how to say “No” in order to promote client independence.
- Most Pleasant: Working on Financial Literary with Lisa at the IRC.
- Most Fulfilling: Witnessing the reunion of two close friends after years of separation.
Joanne is eager to share her father’s advice with anyone who will listen: “We have no right just to sit around and enjoy life.” Considering all the issues Joanne could have chosen to fulfill her father’s commission and all the organizations she could have worked with, we are so thankful that she is with us at IRC Tucson, creating opportunities for refugees to thrive in our community!
Andy Jenkins, Volunteer Coordinator