Over the past year, the Refugee Welcome Network (RWN) has worked with 12 families and individuals, most of whom are from Afghanistan – our allies who fled for their lives when the Taliban took over. New families continue to seek the RWN’s help, our funding supply is low, and some of our volunteers were feeling overwhelmed. It was time to regroup and plan for growth and the sustainability of this important work, so the team held a full-day planning retreat on November 7 to plan for future growth and sustainability.
Thanks to the help of Mary Ellen Waltemire with One Step Closer coaching, we were able to identify our vision and mission, a desired organizational structure with task teams, clear procedures and processes, and began to work on specific criteria for who we will help. The group decided to remain under the umbrella of HARC while we work on the many pieces of sustainability, with the potential to some day become a separate 501c3 organization, if the need arises. Discernment and work on the goals is underway while we continue to serve families in crisis. Active partners include the Islamic Center of Hagerstown (lead partner with HARC), Children in Need, Bester Community of Hope, the Judy Center at Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School, Literacy Council of Washington County, Family Healthcare of Hagerstown, South County Ministerium, Trinity Lutheran Church, Haven Lutheran Church, and numerous other houses of worship.
We need your help!
- Volunteers are wanted to serve on various teams and/or become a “family ally” (make a friend!). Learn more and sign up here if you are interested in helping in this way.
- Funding is needed to assist new families with rent, food, home supplies and connectivity, as well as other special needs. Our asylum seekers are especially vulnerable as they have to wait a long time to be able to work legally. You may donate through the HARC website with a notation of refugees, or mail a check to HARC, P.O. Box 1158, Hagerstown, MD 21741-1158.
- There are many Household needs of furniture, appliances and home goods for our new families. See our current NEEDS LIST.
- Work is needed for several of our families.
- Support Harambe54, a catering company whose owner is teaching on of our talented cooks the ins and outs of catering so she can some day start her own business.
The number of refugee families coming to Washington County, Maryland is growing, driven by violence and oppression in Afghanistan, unrest in Haiti, war in Ukraine, and conflicts in other countries around the world. Thanks to God’s grace and many willing hands and hearts, we were able to start a network of assistance to help people find safety and welcome in our country and county, and work toward independence and becoming contributing citizens. Previously, there was no other organization here to help them. Thank you for your support and prayers as we welcome new friends to our community with love, grace and open hearts and minds.
Rabbi Mark is joined by award winning composer and flutist Mattan Klein, who shares his account of how life in Israel has changed in the past weeks. He also shares his music and his hope that it could lead to harmony and love. In the second half, Thomas Riford, former President of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, shares the history of Thomas Kennedy, a man from Hagerstown who championed Religious Freedom for all. Listen to the podcast.
Listen to the show live every other Saturday morning on 98.9 FM/ AM 1490 WARK at 9 am.
ENVY, a youth violence prevention program here within the City of Hagerstown that works to facilitate collaboration of resources and efforts of various community partners who provide services to or engage with youth in the community, has started a very unique youth basketball league and is looking for our assistance. You may recall Chief Kifer and Danielle Staley speaking about this program at our recent HARC meeting. ENVY stands for Ending Needless Violence with our Youth, and this basketball league is really ENVY’s way to initially engage at risk youth. This league is called Crossroads Basketball League, because many of these youth are at a crossroads in their life and ENVY strives to guide them down a better, safe, and healthier path along their journey.
What makes this league different? It is an invitation-only league, with names of youth provided to ENVY through the school system. The focus is on those youth who, due to financial, academic, or other social barriers, cannot play in other leagues or for the school. This league will have a one hour mandatory team homework time prior to their regular practice to help with academics, transportation assistance provided through Community Action Council, it is completely free for the youth to play in this league, uniforms will be provided at no cost, we will have some assistant coaches and coaches with lived experience to act as violence interrupters and engage with the youth on a more one on one level should circumstances necessitate such. We will be having community resource providers involved with the program as well, with staff embedded in the stands cheering on youth and having organic conversations with families to establish trust that will allow families to feel more comfortable asking for assistance when they need it. It is expected that this league will serve as a launch pad for other programming that can be offered to youth in the community.
ENVY is requesting that the HARC/faith community “adopt” teams so that when your congregation’s team is playing a game then your congregation is there to do activities with younger siblings, provide hall monitoring services so kids are not running through the halls, and potentially assist with cooking and/or serving food to the youth that evening.
There are currently 5 teams established, with high likelihood of a 6th forming. So, we are looking for 5-6 congregations to volunteer to adopt teams. There would be typically one game per week for each team with a 2 week break during the holidays in December, with the season continuing then through March.
For more info or to help, contact Danielle Staley, Hagerstown Police Department, at 301-791-2638 or email@example.com.
Reach has 4 unfilled weeks for the upcoming shelter season. Please contact Liz at Reach (Liz@reachofwc.org or 301-733-2371 X-114) if you are interested in hosting a week, a partial week, one evening and/or preparing a meal with your house of worship, work, friends, and family. Please visit their website www.reachofwc.org/volunteer for more information about the various volunteer positions that help run the shelter every night.
These are the vacant weeks:
26 November-3 December
31 December- 7 January
31 March-7 April