Support Refugees

Sukkat Shalom: Good Neighbor Program 2022

Sukkat Shalom’s partner resettlement agency, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS), has given us the path forward to welcome an Afghan family to the DMV by serving as a Good Neighbor Program (GNP) partner. There are families in nearby military bases waiting to resettle in new homes; to continue to prepare for our family, we need your help! We will provide adjustment assistance starting soon and continue for at least a six-month period. The work will including support for housing, food, connections to schools and English learning and serving as a guide to community resources and services.

Please read the GNP volunteer overview below. Then, in the next few days, by December 9, follow the link to complete the volunteer form. You will find information on three categories of activities: immediate aid prior to arrival; initial adjustment; and ongoing adjustment. The adjustment activities involve direct family contact and require an electronic background check as explained further in the overview.

The Sukkat Shalom Leadership Team will offer a volunteer orientation meeting on December 13 at 7:00 pm and we encourage you to join via Zoom. This is a great opportunity to organize together for our exciting task.  To gain access to the Zoom link, please contact sukkatshalom@templemicah.org.

I Want to Volunteer

Good Neighbor Program Volunteer Overview

There are three volunteer activity categories: immediate aid prior to arrival; initial welcome; and ongoing adjustment assistance. Immediate aid activities do not require a background check. We have estimated the approximate number of volunteers for each type of activity but it is not a limit. Feel free to buddy up! 

Family contact and background check consent.  If you want to be in the company of family members during any part of our work with them, and for all of the welcome and adjustment activities, you ARE REQUIRED to pass an electronic background check and we ask that you pay for it yourself ($21). LSS indicates only your full legal name and your email address are required to begin the process. You should consent in the Volunteer Form to being on the list that we must send to LSS. They will email the electronic form. We understand that all Afghan eligible family members will have Covid vaccinations and we will request that everyone wear masks.

Immediate aid. Some activities are underway and we need support now and in the next several weeks.  We will only be given a few days notice to welcome a family. Therefore, it is important to have our welcome team organized and ready for these activities:

  • Identify and secure housing.  We are looking for rental housing in Montgomery County. If you have contacts or are able to help, we could use a few more people as soon as possible.(2)
  • Apartment set up. We will be given very short notice, perhaps only a few days, to set up an apartment. If you will be available for gathering goods, coordinating with movers (we will hire them) and making a homey arrangement, please commit to that.  This will happen before the family arrives. (10 to 12)
  • Initial pantry and fresh food. The apartment will be stocked with food for the family. If you will be available to shop, store and assemble the food, please recommit to that.  This will happen before the family arrives. (5)

Initial adjustment. In the first day through 30 days we will do the following: 

  • Initial Transit and Reception. Gather the family from their drop off point, drive them to the home and meet them there. (4)
  • Welcome Meal. Deliver a hot welcome meal, introduce yourselves and let the family enjoy it among themselves.  (3)
  • ESL. Support ESL enrollment for Adults with Montgomery College.  Work in person with appropriate computers.  Obtain needed supplies and technologies. (3)
  • School Enrollment.  Support public school enrollment, meet school staff (interpreter support as needed) and provide or arrange related orientation to schooling and obtain supplies (Micah backpacks). (3)
  • Health Screening. Assist with transportation and accompaniment to initial health screenings including for school requirements.  Potentially assist with professional (physician and dentist) liaison.  (4) 

On-going adjustment. From day 10 through the entire GNP period of at least six months, assistance will include.

  • Financial Literacy. Help the family budget for the short term and follow up as they gain employment and arranging a banking relationship for them. (2)
  • Community Resources Neighbor/Systems Navigator. Connect the family to various community resources and visit/orient them (grocery options, recreation center, library, internet provider).
  • Navigate systems like public and supplemental transit, the relationship with the landlord, use of benefits (after initial qualification), obtaining drivers licenses etc.  Child care may be required. (6)
  • Conversation. Meet regularly with adults and children for intentional, engaging conversation in English and provide a link to ESL resources. (6)
  • Donations.  Organize the gift cards and other donations of clothing and technology from Micah and other private resources.  (2)