jacquelyn ulrich wrote -
We need $550 to continue providing light meals to new refugee arrivals during their cultural orientation classes in the United States. By offering food and drink during cultural orientation sessions, we are creating an atmosphere of welcome that fosters a warmer, more conducive learning environment. Food and drink speak the international language of hospitality!
Click to view why we feel snacks are so important for this program, and how this food will make a difference:
Hospitality for Refugees: Snacks for Cultural Orientation Classes
When refugees are first resettled through Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG), they face many challenges as they adjust to life in the United States. Riding the bus, visiting the doctor, understanding complex U.S. laws, and even building up the courage to report apartment issues to the leasing office can be daunting. To better equip refugees with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their new communities, LSG launched its Extended Cultural Orientation (ECO) program in the spring of 2013.
The ECO program seeks to encourage and reinforce each client's strengths, knowledge, and skills through lessons in personal finance, public transit, housing, safety, and more. Classes are taught in a cohort model that allows newly arrived refugees from various ethnicities to interact and build communities across cultures.
Offering food during class has become an essential part of the ECO program; serving food helps structure class sessions. Clients arrive, grab a pastry and a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy while getting to know each other and learning the day's lessons. After 90 minutes of instruction, clients are ready for their fifteen minute break, where more snacks are given. Clients use this time to mill about, connect and laugh with each other. Intercultural friendships are formed and solidified over food and drink.
Refreshments also create an environment of welcome and hospitality which is highly valued in most cultures. Providing food and drink makes the learning experience warmer, less formal, and more approachable. A hot cup of coffee or tea is a cultural conversation starter—many of our clients are much more talkative with a cup in their hands!
Providing snacks also helps smooth the transition as refugees search for jobs and apply for food stamps. During ECO class, refugees receive a light meal in a dignified manner.
When you donate to the ECO program, you not only give refugees something to enjoy during class—you give the incredible gift of welcome, hospitality, and dignity. Thank you for your support!