At the IRC, we know that Washingtonians value compassion and human dignity. We see our volunteers, advocates, donors, and partners embody these values every day. Thanks to your incredible support, so much was made possible in 2018. Take a look back at some highlights of our work together from this past year.
An outstanding 600 community members offered their time and talents as volunteers, together contributing well over 20,000 hours of service. You taught classes, set up homes, tutored children, offered professional mentorship, helped complete mountains of paperwork, and much, much more.
Due to your advocacy, we safeguarded the US Refugee Admissions Program, offering sanctuary and hope to people fleeing violent conflict and persecution. We stood up against extreme restrictions imposed on asylum-seekers and other vulnerable groups. We organized across the country to say Families Belong Together.
You helped welcome 80 new families to our community throughout the year, from places like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, and Ukraine. You opened your homes to families in need of temporary shelter. You banded together to gather household goods and amenities for newcomers' long-term homes.
By sharing your time and resources, you helped 85 women and men find their first jobs in the United States. You helped 95 more advance their careers through skills training, networking events, and other professional development opportunities.
For 130 people with critical health or safety needs, you helped them access care and resources through the IRC’s growing long-term case management and wellness services for vulnerable families.
You also helped grow – quite literally – the IRC's New Roots program, bringing healthy food and activities to 150 families in South King County. And, Namaste Farm Stand in Tukwila and SeaTac offered locally grown, affordable produce to the entire community.
You helped 100 newly-arrived refugee youth enroll in school – for many, after years of inconsistent educational experiences. You helped nearly 400 young people gain skills and confidence needed to thrive in their new communities, through afterschool tutoring, summer camp activities, and even rock climbing!
Our youth programs didn’t have all the fun – the IRC’s senior empowerment program helped more than 100 refugee elders explore the Pacific Northwest and engage in fun activities together, including trips to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and a self-organized Senior Olympics.
With your support we grew the IRC’s programs for human trafficking survivors, helping more than 80 survivors find safety and access critical services in the past year. An IRC team member and human trafficking survivor shares his story here to raise awareness about this critical issue – and to inspire others to help.
And finally, you helped 400 refugee and immigrant community members become naturalized U.S. citizens. Through several successful workshops and an exciting new partnership with King County Library System, we're bringing high-quality immigration services and citizenship education to the broader Seattle community.
While there is much to celebrate from the past year, your partnership and support remain vital as we head into 2019. Together, we have the power to make the U.S. a safe haven for those fleeing conflict and persecution. By raising our voices, volunteering our time, and donating what resources we can, we work toward a more welcoming and inclusive Washington State. We work toward a future where all families – no matter their country of origin or religious beliefs – have the opportunity to thrive in our community.