Catholic Charities is a Christian ministry of charity, service and justice dedicated to providing help to those in need, hope to those in despair, and inspiration for others to follow. The refugee office provides services to help refugees adapt to their adopted homeland by becoming self-sustaining and productive members of their community.
This begins with initial resettlement services, which include: airport pick up, assistance with housing, social services, health care referrals, transportation to initial appointments, school registration, community and cultural orientation, and budgeting and financial education.
In addition, they provide post-resettlement services including employment assistance, driver’s education, interpretation services, a mentorship program, and after school and summer enrichment and mentorship programs for refugee youth. The primary goal of the resettlement process is to help refugees work toward self-sufficiency and as contributing members of society and, eventually, attain their citizenship.
Refugees’ determination and perseverance is evident as they regain their hopes and dreams to live and thrive in Charlotte.
I have worked with Catholic Charities Refugee Office since 2011, when I started as an AmeriCorps member serving in the after school program. I served 2 years with AmeriCorps, then worked for one year after that as a staff member, during which time I helped to start the drop-in tutoring program for high school students.
I then took a hiatus and moved back to my home state of Colorado. I stayed there for 2 years, enjoying time with family and learning about whiskey, until I got the call (literally) to move back to Charlotte and return to the refugee office in November 2016.
Since then, I’ve transitioned into the Program Director role, where I now oversee all of our educational programs, including Cultural Orientation, Citizenship, and our various Youth Programs.
Catholic Charities oversees the placement of refugees in Asheville.