We are working closely with the International Institute in Southwest Missouri to support Afghan refugees coming to Springfield. Our task is to form a Community Sponsorship Group that will be connected with an individual or a family of Afghan refugees. The purpose of this group is to welcome the family to the community, to be there to help them integrate into the community, to help them understand and navigate Western culture, to be a support network for them as they will most likely not know anyone in the area. It is a six month commitment, but sometimes it lasts beyond that just because of the deep and meaningful relationships that are formed. The hope is to have a group formed and ready to welcome an individual or family as soon as November.
We as a church will be raising funds to help cover the cost of first month’s rent plus a deposit, as well as items that need to be purchased (or collected) to set up a home for the family unit. (The International Institute is finding housing for everyone, so that is not our responsibility.) We won’t have an official list until the Community Group is formed, but it will contain new or gently used household items like living room seating (enough for each member of the family), a table with enough chairs for each family member, kitchen utensils, dishes, cups, sheets, towels, cleaning supplies, stuff like that. Some from the team will stage the home and put everything in its place so the home is ready to welcome the family unit; some from the team will greet the family at the airport.
We are looking to form a community group of at least 10 people (we will be joining efforts with Trinity Presbyterian in the hopes of being able to sponsor at least two family units), but there are first steps that need to be taken by every member of the group in order for us to officially sign the contract with the International Institute of SWMO. These steps are:
1. Volunteer application:
Print off this volunteer application (or pick an application up in the Brentwood office), fill it out, include $10 for the background check fee (cash or check made out to International Institute) and mail it to 1114 E Commercial St (there is not a suite number as indicated on the form), 65803.
2. Volunteer Training:
Attend three volunteer zoom training sessions.
Here is the link to sign up to volunteer.
After clicking the link, enter your e-mail address and the options will appear on the next page. There are three offerings for each session, however at this point there is only one more offering of Session 1. If you can’t make the next offering of session 1 (it is this Thursday evening), it is ok to attend Sessions 2 and 3 first and then attend Session 1 the next time they offer options for it.
Once each person on our team has completed those steps, we will reach out to the International Institute to officially sign up as a community sponsorship team. Once it is official, we will be given a list of items that need to be rounded up while we wait to be connected with an individual or a family.
Thank you all for expressing an interest in this important work of showing love and welcome to our new Afghan neighbors. And please pass this information along to any others in the church or community that you think may be interested in being a part of this work. You are all so appreciated!