Published August 7, 2008
A generous anonymous benefactor donated the funds to purchase the van, and the Hennessy Automobile Company assisted in procuring the van at considerable savings for the agency.
The new van was urgently needed. The active Refugee Resettlement program suffered a loss when its trusted old green minivan stopped with transmission problems somewhere between Howell Mill and Northside Drive. The repair shop’s diagnosis: too many miles, not worth the thousands of dollars to repair the transmission. For the staff at Refugee Resettlement, this was difficult news—the van is one of their most valuable tools, since they use this vehicle to pick up refugees from the airport, then drive them to their new homes, to the store, to work, to school, while picking up and transporting household items.
During 2008, the program expects 168 refugees (37 families) to arrive in Atlanta. The staff at Refugee Resettlement becomes the “sponsor” and go-to persons for the families, who will learn all about the American way of life in a multitude of orientations and acculturation classes, including English, civics and social adjustment classes. And the vital services of “the workhorse,” the agency van, continues with trips to schools for children’s enrollment, parent-school orientations, doctor and dentist appointments, trips to job interviews and grocery stores, and many other places.
Welcoming these newcomers to their very own apartment in a metropolitan city like Atlanta is for most refugee families prayers answered. Their arrival in Atlanta is the beginning of a new life. Catholic Charities Atlanta started to resettle refugees in the 1964 with the arrival of the first Cuban refugees. Over the years, thousands of refugees have transitioned into a new life through the offices of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement, and 92 percent of refugee families become self-sufficient within six months of arrival in the U.S.
Catholic Charities Atlanta is the social service agency of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, who partners with the community to help people facing adversity to reach wholeness and self-sufficiency regardless of their background or religion. To learn more about Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement, how to help and other program services in metro Atlanta, visit www.catholiccharitiesatlanta.org or call (404) 881-6571.