IRC New York Resettlement January E-Update - International by yaofenjin


									          IRC New York Resettlement
          January e-update
            New York Resettlement Office | International Rescue Committee
    122 East 42nd Street, 12th Floor | New York, NY 10168 |

None of our work would be possible without donations of money, goods, services,
   and time from caring individuals. To help, click here or call 212.551.0950.

Please join us on Tuesday, March 8, at 6pm for “Extraordinary achievements: A
presentation to honor International Women's Day.” Three refugee women will discuss the
Cuban refugee program, the “extraordinary” achievements that Cuban women are making in
our local communities, and their personal resettlement stories. To attend, call 212.551.0950.

Two weeks ago, Samuel* approached the desk I was sitting at, beamed, and pulled a W-2 out
of his bag. He wasn’t sure what to do with it, but he knew that it meant that he had worked
hard all year. This was a proud moment for me, because Samuel was the first refugee I
worked with at IRC – back in March, I helped him write his resume and prepare for his first
interview. I went with him to one of our partner organizations to get fitted for a suit and to
choose a tie. After he got the job, I talked to him about how to figure out his shoe size, so that
he could purphase a pair of waterproof work boots.

Like many refugees who come from communities without Western style economies, Samuel
has worked hard to navigate subway transfers, grocery stores, crowded streets, and kitchen
appliances. Determining the value of food stamps, calculating relationships between bills
and loose change, making rent payments, and turning paychecks into usable currency have
been daunting. W-2’s, of course, pose challenges as well.

Starting next month, IRC New York will offer Samuel and other refugees who were employed
in 2004 with free tax preparation assistance – many refugees will be eligible for the earned
income tax credit (a refundable tax credit of up to $5805) the child tax credit (worth up to
$1000), and other refunds. Staff and volunteers will reach out to recently resettled refugees
about tax credits they can apply for, prepare their returns during drop in hours, and e-file the
returns with the IRS. We’ll also be providing basic information about budgeting, banking
while refugees wait to have their returns filed.

We are looking for volunteers who are certified to prepare tax returns, as well as volunteers
who are willing to assist with intake and answering refugee’s questions. If you are interested
in getting involved, call 212.551.0950.

On Monday, January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, high school students from the IRC New
York youth program spent the day at a youth conference on non-violence. Visions of Peace:
From Indifference to Making a Difference was sponsored by the Temple of Understanding
and Soka Gakkai International-USA. It included speakers, workshops, and entertainment,
all focused on the topic of non-violence. IRC New York youth program members contributed
by offering a workshop for their peers. During the workshop, the youth screened a
documentary film produced by refugee youth resettled by IRC. Following the film, the youth
shared some of their own stories of loss, displacement, and adjustment to life in New York
City. Youth Program coordinator Kate Macom and IRC New York volunteer Jill Strauss, the
nonviolence education coordinator at The Temple of Understanding, organized and
facilitated the workshop.

Last Tuesday’s interview workshop was well attended by both volunteers and refugees. Many
of the volunteers came to us through your referrals – many thanks! The next workshop will
take place on Tuesday, February 15th at 6pm – based on feedback from volunteers, we will
focus in coming workshops on resume preparation, figuring out job search strategies, and
skills assessments, in addition to interviewing skills.

Last Friday, we finalized details about a large donation of merchandise from the Tribeca Film
Festival. After hearing about our needs and the “gaps” in our donations rooms, the film
festival will be sending sweatshirts, umbrellas, school and work bags, hats, t-shirts, and other
branded items from past film festivals to both the New York and New Jersey offices.

We are recruiting volunteers to take part in a gift wrapping project at Barnes and Noble in
Union Square this Valentine’s Day. We will wrap gifts for customers, distribute information
about IRC, and have a donations box available for contributions. We first took part in
giftwrapping this holiday season, raising just $1000. We also found several new volunteers
and potential donors and raised awareness about IRC’s work. (With $1000, a single mother
can pay for two months of childcare, allowing her to attend language classes and find a part-
time job, volunteers and staff can furnish to new apartment, so that two families have
welcoming homes, Refugee youth can take part in 10 Imagine Series trips, helping them to
learn about career and educational options available to them, or a housebound woman can
attend a 3 month class certifying her as a health aide.)

All volunteers will receive 50% of café items, 30% of books, and 20% of dvd’s and cd’s, for the
entire day that you volunteer. You will also be entered to win a one hour massage at Avalon
Salon and Day Spa (271 West 4th Street). We need volunteers for Friday, February 11th –
Monday, February 14th. Please respond to this email or call 212.551.0950 to volunteer.

The January 13 issue of Time Out New York magazine featured the IRC’s New York
resettlement office as part of a roundup of local volunteering opportunities.

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