In light of the global crisis for unprecedented numbers of displaced persons and refugees (65.3 million worldwide), we find it a great privilege at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to be an integral part of the humanitarian efforts to provide safety, hope, and a new life to refugees. This past fiscal year the IRC in Salt Lake City resettled 613 refugees, representing 21 different countries. Over 44% of the new arrivals were children under the age of 18.
We continue to provide 24-month case management to 1,200 refugees and have expanded many programs providing opportunities for refugees to successfully integrate and participate in our state, such as economic empowerment, health education, youth, and immigration, also including Spice Kitchen Incubator, New Roots in Salt Lake City, and the East African Refugee Goat Project of Utah. We strive to build meaningful partnerships, increase volunteer opportunities and generate new community resources to better support refugees on their journey from harm to home.
As refugees continue resettling in our community, others resettled five years back are now applying for and receiving citizenship in the United States to continue their journey as new Americans. And as we move forward into 2017, it is critical that we recognize and acknowledge what we are thankful for, particularly after such a divisive and tumultuous election season. We cannot heed to negative, discriminating rhetoric and behaviors, and must allow our actions of service, charity, kindness, and inclusiveness be the driving forces in our everyday interactions. It is a matter of social justice and keeps us on the just side of humanity.
I am thankful for such a caring, devoted and talented staff, incredible corps of volunteers and supporters, and the continued and growing community partnerships. Thank you, to each of you, for the part you play within the sphere of influence you embrace. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to continue to grow with each of you as we make Utah even more welcoming and maintain our nation as the beacon of freedom in this world.
Patrick Poulin, LCSW
Executive Director, Salt Lake City