At a volunteer orientation a few months ago, a community member shared how much she appreciated our intentionality of using the phrase “coming alongside.” She acknowledged that these words have the ability to tear down preconceived ideas and transform strangers into friends.
The term ‘coming alongside’ are meaningful words, but they are more than words. It’s an empowering stance, reflecting a posture of respect and care and recognizing that the families we’re supporting have in themselves a depth of strength and resilience.
We have learned so much from our resettled neighbors over the years. Our mentors often share how they have been impacted from those they’re providing support to. This has looked like mentors sitting around a toshak or floor sofa while helping newcomers understand mail and bills or building proficiency in English over a cup of cardamom green tea. It’s celebrating the small moments of a child making a new friend or a mother building confidence in running errands for her family, or grieving with a neighbor over the loss of their home, community, and dreams for their future. We value this posture of humility, creating space for mutual reciprocity and learning.
Currently, we have referrals from a number of families asking for support from mentors to come alongside them:
- An Afghan father shared that his family would benefit from support learning to navigate appointments and life in the United States. He and his wife have two young children, and are pregnant with their third.
- A family of seven from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who arrived last year would like assistance getting connected to jobs that are more sustainable for their family. Their oldest is a teenager and the youngest is less than a year old.
- A Syrian family of nine who arrived in November. The children range in age from 2-12, and the parents are looking for friends and support learning English.
We believe that real hospitality is found not just in the initial welcome or moments after arrival, but in walking alongside for years to come. Choosing to be present in the life of a family who’s rebuilding their lives is a gift – not just to our new neighbors, but to us as well. We have seen how long-term presence has the power to transform people’s lives, turning strangers into neighbors and neighbors into family.
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