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New to LSS: Q&A with Circle of Welcome Coordinator, LSS' newest volunteer program

We want to introduce you to Clara James, our community sponsorship coordinator in charge of the new LSS Circle of Welcome volunteer initiative. Read more to learn about Clara as well as how to get involved in the unique volunteer program in Jacksonville, Florida.

Tell us about yourself:

Hello! I'm the Community Sponsorship Coordinator for LSS, leading the initiation of the Circle of Welcome in collaboration with our national partner, Global Refuge (formerly known as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service).

Clara James, LSS community sponsorship coordinator

I've been actively involved in language education and community outreach through my time as an ESOL Specialist at Catholic Charities Bureau and a Literacy Program Specialist at Jacksonville Public Library. I also have experience managing volunteers and community building as an AmeriCorps Member Coordinator at Literacy Alliance of Northeast Florida. Additionally, I've worked as a teacher and held other roles at the library, enhancing my skills in education and community involvement.

What are you most excited about in your new role?

I am excited about the opportunity to establish and lead the Circle of Welcome program in Jacksonville. This role allows me to build essential partnerships with civic, academic, corporate, religious, and other groups to create a network of co-sponsors committed to providing vital services to refugee families. I look forward to making a positive impact by facilitating these partnerships and supporting resettled refugees through their successes.

How is your program benefiting the Jacksonville community?

Circle of Welcome is designed to benefit the Jacksonville community by fostering a collaborative effort between LSS, community groups, and refugee families.

Co-sponsors, under my guidance, commit to providing core Reception and Placement (R&P) services, extending the support refugees receive. This program not only aids in the successful resettlement of refugees but also promotes community engagement, diversity, and cultural understanding.

How can people get involved in your program?

There are various ways to get involved with Circle of Welcome! You can:

  • Express interest by sending me an email at

  • Attend an outreach presentations and training sessions (Coming Soon!)

  • Connect with us on social media platforms for updates and opportunities.

  • Collaborate with us in organizing workshops, donations, and community programs.

  • Offer support through volunteer work or donations to contribute to the success of the program.

We welcome all interested parties to join us in making a positive impact on the lives of resettling refugees in Jacksonville.

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