Community Spotlight: Church World Service
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - War, racial or political persecution, and violence. Those are just some of the reasons 89 million refugees worldwide search for solitude and new life.
Church World Service in Harrisonburg is helping people navigate that here in the Valley.
“If you can imagine having fled your home country, having to leave many things behind maybe even leave some of your family members behind, and coming to an entirely new country,” CWS Development and Communications Coordinator Emily Bender said.
This is something refugees from all over the world who are new to the Valley face each day and why Church World Service is there to help.
“We will meet folks coming from ground transportation in the airport, we greet people with a hot meal and take them to their new home whether that’s their temporary home or their permanent home,” Bender explained.
From there, staff like Bender help clients through many programs like setting up employment, schooling, medical care, and integration assistance, and they have seen growth over the years.
“There are folks that came back in the early 90s that are contributing to the community now and even people that have been here for less time than that so we’re here to celebrate that,” Bender said.
CWS does have one issue they hope to address with increased funding.
“Transportation, so we’re looking at how we can help with behind-the-wheel driving classes to help people get to that point where they can get their driver’s license and get their own car,” Bender said.
She explains once this service is added, it can only add to the independence many CWS clients are seeking.
“Everything that we can do to help people get the best start that they can possibly have here in the United States that’s why we’re here,” Bender said.
Church World Services is always looking for volunteers for things like help with case management, tutoring and youth mentorship. You can find out more about these opportunities by visiting their website here.
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