Fairfax County, Virginia - Opportunity Neighborhoods
Communities from Arizona to Fairfax, from Warwickshire to New Anschpach, and Bogota to Cartegena have seen the positive effects of nurturing immigrant populations. Learning the best ways to integrate newcomers helps stimulate economies and create vibrant and competitive communities.
Through a successful model of building welcoming communities, Fairfax County, Virginia brings community-based organizations together to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations. Opportunity Neighborhoods (ON) provides a network of partners who identify gaps in services and then work with low-income residents together to prioritize their needs, and develop solutions with shared support from:
- Community members
- Faith communities
- Businesses and
- County Agencies
By collaborating with partners to deliver needed resources for refugee and vulnerable youth along with their families. Opportunity Neighborhoods creates a strong infrastructure to welcome, support, and empower newcomers through sustainable integration.
Please visit Opportunity Neighborhoods for newcomer integration and community strengthening ideas.
How does a refugee move forward in a new country? How do they bridge the gaps they face that are necessary for integration into a new place? Most importantly, how do they learn the language fast enough to get a job and be productive in their communities? One ESL program in Virginia's southeast region targeting mothers and children conducts classes over Zoom, offering both language skills and a sense of community for women who are often more isolated.
In partnership with NoVa Friends of Refugees, we have provided a list of the most relevant proposals for the refugee and immigrant communities, organized by policy category, and encourage our local readers to stay updated and contact your representatives for those issues about which you feel strongly. We have found our elected officials' staff to be easy to talk to and, in our experience, responsive to our emails. The Virginia General Assembly is in session until February 27. Call or write today!
As much as my newcomer friends may need help in successfully integrating into their new communities, the rest of us have much to gain from their lived experience, maybe especially in a pandemic-filled world of uncertainty.