Published on June 16, 2015
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans joins in the world-wide celebration of World Refugee Day this June 20, 2015. Each year on June 20th the United Nations, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and countless civic groups around the world raise awareness for the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide on this day. In New Orleans, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans helps resettle over one hundred refugees and refugee families who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and/or persecution each year. Common countries of origin include Cuba, Iraq, and Burma.
Refugees enrich our community by their experiences and unique world views, adding to the diversity of New Orleans’ cultural landscape,” said Martin Gutierrez, Division Director over Immigration and Refugee Services with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Providing support and resettlement for these refugees is at the core of Catholic Charities mission of serving the vulnerable and the voiceless. We are pleased to welcome and support these new members of our community who are resettled here by the U.S. government in order to build a new life free from persecution and violence.
Refugee Services of Catholic Charities provides a wide range of resettlement and supportive services including case management, cultural orientation, housing, employment assistance, resource referrals, immigration legal services and English as a Second Language. In addition, the program recently began a refugee mentor program, connecting volunteer mentors with a refugee or refugee family for a year. These mentors work to help acquaint refugees with basic resources and life skills.
“While case managers provide for immediate needs and services, many of our refugee families need a helping hand to guide them through basic tasks,” said Peyton Smith, Refugee Mentor Program Coordinator. “Things like setting up a bank account or going to the grocery store may be daunting to someone who just arrived in the U.S. Our hope is that our mentors will help guide our refugee clients as they learn to acclimate to their new community.”