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Opportunities to serve refugees locally

There are many ways to serve refugees in Lancaster, Pa., "America's refugee capital"! If you have questions about serving refugees in Lancaster County, or if you can't find a good fit for your skills below, contact EMM Kingdom Team Director Krista Martin at krista.martin@emm.org or 717 898-2251.

Church World Service (CWS)

Refugee resettlement agency
Contact: 717 381-2890, or Christine Baer at cbaer@cwsglobal.org

    Group opportunities and projects

  • Join a Welcome Team

  • Set up an apartment for an arriving family

  • Prepare a culturally appropriate meal for an arriving family

  • Gather/donate items for welcome kits (contact CWS for list of items needed)

    Ongoing/individual volunteer needs

  • Transport refugees to appointments

  • Tutor children, practice conversational English, or help teach English as a second language (ESL)

  • Provide cultural orientation or explore the city together



Bethany Christian Services (BCS)

Refugee resettlement agency
Contact: 717 399-3213, or Megan Brown at meganbrown@bethany.org or 717 678-3918

    Group opportunities and projects

  • Assist a family with initial needs and provide ongoing relationship

  • Set up an apartment for an arriving family

  • Prepare a culturally appropriate meal for an arriving family

  • Gather/donate items for welcome boxes (Contact BCS for list of items needed)

  • Create an inventory of the welcome box items placed in Emmanuel Church

  • Create a database/phone list of ongoing volunteers


    Ongoing/individual volunteer needs

  • Transport refugees to appointments

  • Help with ESL or homework tutoring

  • Visit a refugee and help them learn basic aspects of living in America

  • Orient people to the city and local resources

  • Be matched with a family to take them to church

  • Be a person for a family to call with questions

The Refugee Center and Community School at Reynolds

Support center at Reynolds Middle School
Contact: 717 947-1523, or Khem Subedi at khem_subedi@iu13.org 

    Group opportunities and projects

  • Collect donations such as school uniforms, backpacks, or school supplies

  • The Refugee Center especially needs hygiene items like deodorant, feminine products, toothpaste, etc. Contact Angie Earl for a complete list of items needed.

    Ongoing/individual volunteer needs

  • Volunteer with an after-school club one hour per week

  • Volunteer with to help with an English and art club one hour per week (Thursdays, 45 p.m., Reynolds Middle School, Lancaster) 

  • Help with the Leap into Language summer program, offering enrichment activities to refugee and immigrant students engaged in a summer English language-learning program


Provides ESL classes to refugees and immigrants
Contact: 717 295-5523, or Jane Myers at jane@getliterate.org

    Ongoing/individual volunteer needs

  • ESL instruction: classroom assistant, small group instructor, or one-on-one tutoring

  • Mentoring: Career Pathways Mentor for highly skilled immigrants and refugees


Riversedge Fellowship
A Mennonite church in Lancaster City with both Nepali and English-speaking fellowships
Contact Rhoda Yost at 717 669-3888 or rhodamy@gmail.com

    Children's ministry opportunities
  • Plan or assist with Wednesday Kids Club from 45:30 p.m.

  • Assist with Saturday morning Bhutanese Nepali Sunday School  

  • Develop children’s ministry for small English fellowship on Sundays at 4 p.m.

  • Urgent need: Provide child care on Thursday mornings so mothers can attend the Sewing Café  

    Youth ministry opportunities: Consider building friendship with Nepali youth and being a     mentor to them as they learn how to follow Jesus in American culture.

    ESL classes: Serve as a teaching assistant during ESL classes Monday through                  Wednesday mornings, 10 a.m. to noon.

    Sewing Café: Serve as a sewing coach on Thursday evenings, enabling the café to extend     its hours for those who work during the day.

    Church growth
  • Serve as a worship leader for the small English meeting on Sundays at 4 p.m. 
  • Engage the community by talking with people, building relationships, sharing Jesus, and being invitational 

    Facilities care
  • Urgent need: Fix, maintain, and oversee facility care so that church ministries can run safely.


A Mennonite church in Lancaster County mostly attended by Karen refugees from Burma
Contact Chris Landes at 717 808-5572 or cdlandes@habeckerchurch.com  

    Children's ministry opportunities
  • Provide child care for Karen toddlers on some Sunday mornings from 10–11:30

  • Teach Sunday school to Karen children in grades K–3 and 4–8


    Other opportunities
  • Build relationships with a Karen family to help them learn to function and practice faith in American culture

  • Drive people to appointments

  • Help people with homework

  • Teach ESL


Other ideas, through EMM or independently:
Contact EMM: 717 898-2251, or Krista Martin at krista.martin@emm.org


    Youth groups

    Adults

  • Assist with a local ESL class for refugees, or start a new class

  • Learn how you could befriend a refugee and invite them into your community

  • Consider opening your home or renting to a refugee family through CWS or BCS

  • Find out if your business could provide a job to a refugee

  • Attend cultural trainings to build cross-cultural relationships (check EMM's events page for "Welcoming refugees" trainings)

  • Offer your skills or resources to serve refugees through CWS or BCS resettlement agencies

    Global

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