Coordinated by the CWS Durham and Greensboro offices, the CARE Program seeks to pair groups of dedicated community sponsors with resettled refugees in their communities to support their quest for upward mobility and full integration. Check out the information below to learn more about this program!
What is the CARE Program?
Although CWS provides several avenues of support for refugees to become self-sufficient, many refugees remain in low-paying jobs long after they arrive in the US. The CARE Program seeks to address this gap by forming community groups— CARE Groups— who will support refugees financially and socially in their efforts towards financial security and overall thriving.
CARE groups will consist of 5-10 people committed to a four-to-six month long partnership with a refugee in their community. Community volunteers will participate in two hours of interactive training and provide financial and social support so that their refugee partner can fully engage their goals.
How can I sign up?
Due to the current COVID-19 health crisis, CWS has been conducting volunteer activities and refugee support fully remotely. CARE Groups will likewise be remote until CWS can safely move to in person activities. See FAQs for more information.
Please submit Case Notes using this link
What is the time commitment for CARE groups?
CARE group members will commit to a 2 hour interactive training at the beginning of the program. Weekly time commitment will vary depending on client needs and volunteer capacity. Before pairing a team with a client, CWS will consider both to ensure that client needs are being met without overextending our CARE groups.
How long will the CARE program last?
The CARE Program is intended to provide refugee clients support for 4-6 months, depending on their specific needs and goals.
What is the financial commitment for the CARE groups?
A single CARE group will collectively contribute the equivalent to 4-6 months living expenses for their refugee partner at the start of the program. This will be an average of $5000 per group.
Why do CARE groups need to provide the financial component of support upfront?
The CARE program is meant to enable refugees to engage upward mobility activities. These types of activities may require a fee, and they will certainly require a time commitment from the refugee client. Many clients will need to reduce working hours or leave their jobs in order to complete the trainings necessary to pursue other job opportunities. Many cannot afford to do so, and this remains one of the primary barriers for upward mobility in the refugee community. In order for our clients to commit to the CARE program, they will need assurance of financial security during this transition time. We ask that CARE groups provide that support upfront so that we can provide that assurance.
How will the financial component be used?
Financial support will be used to cover living expenses (such as rent, utilities, childcare, groceries, transportation, etc.) for the refugee client during the CARE program partnership. The specific needs of the client will be reviewed by CWS case managers and employment specialists in order to determine the specific financial support needed from CARE groups.
What other supporting activities will CARE groups be involved in?
Social support will look different for each team depending on individual client needs and goals, determined by CWS case managers. They might include activities such as helping a client study for an English exam, helping a client obtain childcare, offering professional mentorship in a certain field, connecting clients with useful professional networks, or practicing interview skills with the client. CWS will consider volunteer skillset and capacity when pairing groups with clients.
What will the two hour interactive trainings consist of?
All CWS volunteers, per CWS policy, complete standard orientation trainings which are intended to educate volunteers on the work of CWS, CWS policies, the national refugee resettlement program, and volunteer expectations. In order to further equip CARE volunteers with the skills they need to feel well positioned to provide support to refugee clients, CARE groups will also participate in additional anti-racism and empowerment helping model trainings.
What is anti-racism training?
Anti-racism trainings focus on combatting racism in a proactive way, seeking not just to ignore differences but to recognize, honor, and appreciate them. Anti-racism trainings name and acknowledge that racism exists not only in overt ways but also subconscious, subtle, and systemic ways. Anti-racism trainings do not seek to shame individuals but rather recognizes that every person can learn and grow, and it aims to empower individuals to learn together how to best support people from marginalized racial groups.
Why is anti-racism training necessary for CARE groups?
Many refugee clients are part of marginalized racial groups. At CWS, we place a high value on empowering our clients to embrace their experiences and identities. We value the diversity of perspectives they have to offer us, and we are committed to leading by listening. As such, anti-racism trainings are in line with our values. Furthermore, we have a strong commitment to making sure our volunteers feel fully equipped and confident in their partnership with us. We believe that anti-racism trainings are the best way to empower our volunteers to confidently participate in this program.
What is the empowerment model of helping?
Helping programs such as the CARE program provide valuable services to refugee clients. However, there are potential weaknesses. Compassionate volunteers desire to help their refugee partners, and can often instead do the work for them. In these cases, not only do refugees not learn the skills they need, they can unintentionally find themselves in a dependent position. Our goal at CWS is to give power to our clients. Empowerment helping models focus on teaching volunteers how to best support their refugee partners by giving them the tools they need to feel equipped to care for themselves. It focuses on the autonomy of the client and supports healthy boundaries between volunteers and their refugee partners.
Are there opportunities to do in person volunteer activities right now?
Current CWS policy states that all volunteer activities will be conducted remotely until further notice due to the COVID-19 crisis. This policy is regularly being reviewed as new information becomes available. Our top priority is the safety of CWS staff, clients, and volunteers.
How will the CARE program be conducted remotely?
CWS has been successfully conducting volunteer activities remotely since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, and we are well equipped to adapt those activities to the CARE program. Trainings are able to be conducted over zoom. Supporting activities such as ESL practice, mock interviews, study sessions, or mentorship conversations are also easily transferrable to a remote model. Technology such as three way phone calls, video calling programs, group chats, whatsapp, and document sharing are all helpful resources we can implement for this program until in person activities can be conducted safely.