Refugee Connections Spokane projects focus on wellness and civic engagement.
American Law and Justice Workshop
This event is dedicated to: 1) fostering a positive view of the U.S. legal system, given that many refugees come from places where authority is a symbol of threat; 2) explaining the purpose of our criminal justice system and how it functions; 3) identifying key civil rights and liberties; and 4) providing information - in writing - to each participant about where to seek help in protecting those rights. RCS has collaborated with our community partners to present three Workshops since 2013.
The Harvest Project connects refugees with donor farms and gardens to harvest fruits and vegetables that refugees then distribute free of charge in a low-income Spokane neighborhood. The project was inspired by a former refugee who sought a way for refugees to give back to the community that has offered them a safe home. It has helped to provide social connections and free healthy produce to refugees, immigrants, and low-income neighborhood residents since 2011.
Refugee Kids Connect
Started by a volunteer in July 2017, Refugee Kids Connect serves 30 children and by extension their families. We meet with children twice a week and either go to a nearby park or to their homes for homework club. The activities include STEM challenges, games, crafts and sports. The hope is that this program might be developed into a pilot project for the Spokane Public Schools, which has over 2000 refugee and immigrant students.
World Refugee Day
Refugee Connections Spokane (RCS) takes the lead in coordinating with nearly 12 other local organizations to host a community-wide celebration of local refugees for the annual United Nations World Refugee Day. The event includes traditional foods, hand-made crafts, customary dances, and a citizenship swearing in ceremony.
Refugee Elder Outreach
This program is dedicated to the empowerment of refugees and immigrants who came to the United States later in life. In addition to ensuring that elders are included in other RCS projects, RCS coordinates activities and events specifically tailored for refugee and immigrant elders. These include: basic ESL classes; elder service workshops; civic-oriented "Settling Into Spokane" field trips; training in the use of public transportation; and nutrition education.
RCS created and now distributes health-record booklets for refugees and immigrants to bring with them to the emergency room and doctors' offices. Each booklet is in English and one of nine different translated languages. Patient Passports help people with limited English skills to communicate with health care providers to enhance their health and well-being. We make this resource available nationwide.