The U.S. government responded to this past year’s crises by welcoming 76,000 people forced to flee Afghanistan—the largest evacuation of its kind since the Vietnam War—and committing to accepting 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, as well as raising the refugee resettlement ceiling to 125,000 for fiscal year 2022.
As a way of tackling the ongoing displacement crisis and issues faced by these clients, the IRC is focusing on community engagement to help with the integration of resettled refugees into our local communities, through a new Community Sponsorship Program.
What is Community Sponsorship
Community Sponsorship is a shared endeavor. Groups within the community work together to prepare for and welcome a refugee family to their local area. This model relies on harnessing the power of a private/public partnership between community volunteers and our agency to ensure the independence and self-sufficiency of our new neighbors.
A co-sponsor will play a key role in helping refugees resettle into their new community. Community sponsors advance the role of communities in the protection, resettlement, and integration of refugees and other vulnerable populations. As a co-sponsor group, local community members commit to providing, in a non-legally binding agreement, clearly defined financial and in-kind contributions and the majority of core services to support a refugee’s welcome and integration in partnership with the IRC.
From Afghanistan to Arizona: A Story of Co-Sponsorship and Empowerment
The video was produced by Beth Cohen and Zakia A. Zakia is an Afghan scholar, artist, and computer science student who is part of this remarkable story.
Benefits of Community Sponsorship
Not only does co-sponsorship offer you a chance to bring positive change to your community, but you are also becoming a part of a larger global community that is helping to bring awareness to the plight of people seeking refuge.
True integration is not something that can be taught or learned from books, it requires personal interaction and building relationships with people in the community. A Community Sponsorship Program helps create these personal connections.
With Community Sponsors, refugees receive far more support and for longer periods of time, and as a result, the quality of life for refugee families is immeasurably enhanced.
- Receive Food & Clothing
- Access Medical Care
- Navigate the Community
- Find Jobs
- Build a Future
How Do I Become a Co-Sponsor in Phoenix?
- Be located within 100 miles of IRC in Phoenix.
- Raise $5,000 to support the family you will be working with. A small portion will go to the administrative cost of providing support to the Co-Sponsor groups and families served.
- Have a team of 6 - 10 dedicated volunteers | ***Community sponsors must be an established organization such as: a business, university community, faith group, sports team, or local club. Individuals or informal groups may not serve as community sponsors. Community sponsors do not have to be a formal 501c3, but must be structured.
- Provide in-kind donations for household and personal needs.
- Commit to six months of on-going education, mentorship and client support.
- Partake in regular check-in sessions with IRC staff.
- Core Group representatives sign a non-legally binding Co-Sponsorship agreement with IRC.
- Visit rescue.org/Phoenix to learn more about Co-Sponsorship and Resettlement in AZ
- Review IRC Co-Sponsorship Informational Materials
- Submit an IRC AZ Co-Sponsorship Interest Form
- Each group member submits a Volunteer Application to IRC AZ
- All team members undergo the IRC Background Checks prior to working with IRC clients. The background checks are initiated once your volunteer application is submitted and reviewed.
- Attend IRC’s two part Orientation Training Session
For more information about Co-Sponsorship opportunities with IRC Phoenix, please contact Community Sponsorship Coordinator, Amber Larson, at: [email protected].