Refugee Resettlement Program
St. Mark’s is one of eight Capitol Hill congregations (Good Neighbors Capitol Hill) providing Afghan refugee resettlement in Prince George’s County. The team has furnished 45 apartments with donations from our neighbors and friends. Through our tutoring and employment volunteers, we are connected to 25 Afghan families and 75 children (with more families waiting for a mentor/friend). The energy and enthusiasm of the Capitol Hill community about this project has been impressive. In fact, the D.C. City Council issued a proclamation in March 2018 recognizing this incredible effort. Learn more about the Good Neighbor Program here or contact our congregational representative, Karen Getman.
Needs during the coronavirus pandemic: Most of the 40 refugee families Good Neighbors Capitol Hill (GNCH) has connected with as tutors and employment mentors have been underemployed, but during the pandemic 89% are unemployed and joining the millions seeking government benefits. GNCH has purchased $4,000 worth of gift cards for the families’ needs. You can help increase our ongoing “relief fund” by sending a check to Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20003, with GNCH refugees on the notation line (Reformation manages our designated giving account). You can also visit the online donation portal at www.reformationdc.org and designate gifts for “Refugee resettlement.” All funds so designated go directly to support for refugees Please indicate you are a St. Mark’s parishioner as we want to thank you personally. Questions can be directed to Karen Getman.
How to participate: Mentoring relationships are essential to the assimilation of refugees, who have left behind extended family support systems, jobs, and cultural lifestyle. There are several ways you can volunteer with the Refugee Resettlement Program.
The basic requirement for volunteering for the Employment and Tutoring teams is a commitment to friendship and a regular meeting with an individual or family. These families blossom with our friendship and gain confidence, trust, and skills for developing self-sufficiency in their new country.
We’re also eager to have volunteers who are available for occasional projects. Our Furnishings Team is called into action about once a month, while the Communications and Fundraising teams require only a few hours of monthly commitment.
- Employment mentoring: Volunteers help newcomers with job searches so they can achieve financial independence. Contact Rick Miller for more information.
- Tutoring: Help families gain basic language capacity. Contact Barbara Beyna.
- Fundraising: Help families meet emergency needs and access basic subsidies for families who are underemployed. Checks can be written to Lutheran Church of the Reformation (with notation of GNCH Refugee Resettlement). Contact Brendan Danaher.
- Furnishings: Donate items for and help prep apartments for new arrivals. Contact Kathryn Tobias.
- Website management: Assist with communications oversight of our GNCH website. Contact Karen Getman.