Thanks to your incredible support in 2019, 2,500 refugee and immigrant community members received services they need to thrive here in Washington.Take a look back at some highlights of our work together from this past year.
Nearly 800 community members offered their time and talents as volunteers. You taught classes, set up homes for families, tutored children, offered professional mentorship, helped complete mountains of paperwork, and much, much more.
Due to your advocacy, we fought to uphold the United States’ legacy as a refuge for those fleeing violence and persecution. We raised awareness of the harm caused by policies keeping families apart. We grew Congressional support for the GRACE Act, which would ensure no less than 95,000 refugees are welcomed to our communities each year across the U.S.
You helped welcome 175 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 180 more advance their careers through mentorship and professional development opportunities – including our new Digital Skills for New Americans initiative created in partnership with Microsoft. And, you helped more than 50 newcomers plan for the future through our financial coaching program.
For 170 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 helped grow – quite literally – the IRC's New Roots program, bringing healthy food and activities to 150 families. You helped develop an amazing 72,000 square feet of community garden space, including a brand-new garden in Kent. You also helped gardeners bring organic, affordable produce to the wider community at Namaste Farm Stand in Tukwila and SeaTac. You also helped stock our emergency food pantry, ensuring families have access to food staples in times of crisis or transition.
You helped 160 newly-arrived youth enroll in school – for many, after years of inconsistent educational experiences. You helped 300 young people gain skills and confidence needed to thrive in their new communities, through afterschool tutoring, leadership development, college & career readiness, fun camp activities, and even rock climbing. You also helped start a new program for newcomer parents with young children, promoting healthy development and early learning.
Our youth programs didn’t have all the fun – the IRC’s senior empowerment program helped more than 75 refugee elders explore the Pacific Northwest and engage in fun activities together. Senior participants report feeling more socially connected and comfortable navigating their new community.
With your support we grew the IRC’s programs for human trafficking survivors, helping more than 200 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 nearly 450 refugee and immigrant community members become permanent residents or naturalized U.S. citizens. Through several successful workshops and our partnerships with King County Library System and Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, we're bringing high-quality citizenship education and immigration services 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 2020. 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.