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Circle of Welcome is a co-sponsorship program that invites the community to get involved in Lutheran Social Services’ work of welcoming newcomers. Co-Sponsorship is a special relationship between a local resettlement agency, a community group, and a refugee family.

 

Co-Sponsors walk alongside and support a refugee family for six months in the U.S. and serve as community guides and friends.

This program is made possible by 

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Overview

Make a difference by sponsoring a new refugee family in your community!

Program Highlights

Time commitment: Commit to six months of supporting a refugee family; at least three hours per week for the first month; and at least two hours per week for months 2-6

Sign a written commitment with your local resettlement agency to provide friendship, encouragement, and support.

Fundraise toward a specific monetary goal for support of the refugee family.

Groups are made up of 6-10 people from your faith community, neighborhood group, company, alumni association, or others.

Support case managers who complete official paperwork, schedule initial medical appointments, and enroll refugees in public benefits.

 

All team members must attend Circle of Welcome training and complete a background check.

Key Contact Information

Learn more information and signup for the

Circle of Welcome Program!

Clara James, Community Sponsorship Coordinator 

904-448-5995

Circle of Welcome Program Information

Co-Sponsor 

A community group accepts, in a non-legally binding written agreement with a local affiliate (resettlement agency). Assuming the responsibility to provide or ensure the provision of the majority (8 or all) of R&P services in partnership with the local affiliate and provide negotiable fundraising financial support. Co-Sponsor is overseen by the local affiliate.

Support Team

Refers to a community group that has committed to providing less than a majority of R&P Core Services (7 or fewer) to refugees in partnership with the local affiliate or community partner. Although support teams are not required to sign a written agreement, LIRS considers it a best practice for all community groups to sign a commitment form with the local resettlement agency. Like Co-Sponsors, there is a financial component, and they are overseen by the local resettlement agency. 

Financial Co-Sponsor

They are part of a group that has only committed to providing financial and in-kind contributions to support the welcome of refugee families during the integration process in the local community. There are different ways to use the financial requirement, for instance, the money collected will pay for rental assistance, unmet unexpected needs of the family, and administrative needs the program may face.

Support Group Services

A community group or individual that offers different types of services free to refugee families that help them to learn and improve their skills in art, sport, business, and others. This level of commitment focuses on promoting meaningful interaction and integration between refugees/newcomers and the local community.

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More Refugee Resettlement Programs at LSS

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Tiered Case Management

Works with refugees who have more complex issues that require additional assistance. While they assist all eligible clients, they commonly assist Cuban/Haitian entrants with activating benefits and linking them with resources in the community. 

Friends

Youth Services

Focuses on young refugees aged 16 through 19 which provides support to students enrolled in local public schools. This program offers after school tutoring, workshops, and field trips to increase skills and community integration. For more information, send an email to refugee.youth@lssjax.org 

Working with Vintage Typewriter

Employment Services

Assists refugees in obtaining their first job in the U.S. as quickly as possible, and helps established refugees move up the career ladder to jobs with increased responsibility and high salaries. Employment Services staff work with local employers to educate them on refugee employment, and coach jobseekers on interviewing skills and U.S. employment customs. 

Workshop

Mentoring Services

Works with refugees ages 15-24 to promote positive civic and social engagement and support individual educational and vocational advancement. Participants are linked with volunteer mentors to help them achieve their goals. They also can participate in workshops and field trips. For more information, send an email to refugee.youth@lssjax.org 

Adult Education Course

Adult Education

Classes are offered in English Language, citizenship and high school equivalency diploma program through LSS' contractor.

Kids in Preschool

Childcare Services

Allows for eligible clients in the employment and adult education program to have access to quality daycare for their children. 

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Legal Services

Available to be filed on behalf of clients for core services such as I-485, naturalization, asylum, work permit, parole renewals, etc. 

More Programs

Preferred Communities

Provides case management services to overcome extra barriers to the most vulnerable refugees and asylees. 

New American Cities

A career pathways program that serves refugees and immigrants who have been in the United States past their initial resettlement period and are ready for career advancement and upskilling. 

Match Grant

An alternative to public cash assistance, providing services to enable ORR-eligible populations to become economically self-sufficient within 8 months of enrollment. 

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