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IRC New York Resettlement January e-update New York Resettlement Office | International Rescue Committee 122 East 42nd Street, 12th Floor | New York, NY 10168 | www.theIRC.org/NewYork 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. CELEBRATING WOMEN 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. TAX PREP 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. IRC YOUTH COMMEMORATE MLK JR DAY 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. INTERVIEW 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. TRIBECA FILM MAKES GENEROUS MERCHANDISE DONATION TO IRC NEW YORK 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. GIFT WRAP WITH US 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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