Volunteer Perspective

Volunteer Perspective

Washington DC Team assists their local community through ESL, Art, Mental Health Awareness, and Advocating for Refugee Physicians

Our hearts are heavy due to the events and suffering in Israel and Palestine. We understand that any conflict leading to loss and displacement have long-term effects for individuals, families, and the community at large. We continue to work toward creating and advocating for better welcome in each of our own communities.

February 20, 2024

Volunteer Perspective

Connecting with Afghan Youth through Art

It is often our individual talents and passions that lead us to story projects. That was the case when a local organization Nova RAFT (Resettle Afghan Families Together) told us about a group of Afghan youth who were using art to express their experiences from evacuation to resettlement. That germinated an idea of hosting an Art Workshop with TSOS DC-Community Liaison, Annie Gedicks, who teaches art at Nova Community College.

September 29, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

Reclaiming Lost Traditions

Holidays are an important time to include newcomers. Newcomers are often aching for the traditions and holiday magic they knew at home - and the connections with family and friends. The Garcias* came from a strong family and community that knew generous and giving holiday traditions. I knew, when I met our new friends from Venezuela, the rich bond we would have; this was a kindred spirit family. Even though we have been bad at communicating (Google Translate is such a false hope), it was easy to find connections that helped us love each other.

September 8, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

Getting Serious about Collecting Stories

We know there are stories in Kansas City that need to be told. So, we sat down and made a plan. We listed individuals, nonprofit organizations, and resettlement agencies that we have relationships with. Then we listed ways we could weave these stories together by topic: connected communities, housing, resettlement, etc. Our list grew and grew, and before we knew it we had a roadmap.

September 1, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

Support for Asylum Seekers at the Texas Border

In April, I had the pleasure of volunteering with one of the nonprofit organizations providing much-needed humanitarian assistance to people seeking asylum (“asylum seekers”) along the United States and Mexico border - Team Brownsville. Founded in 2018, Team Brownsville serves immigrants, primarily those who are seeking asylum, who arrive in Brownsville, Texas or who are waiting in the Mexican cities of Matamoros or Reynosa for entry into the United States.

August 25, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

Refugee Physicians: The Untapped Resource That Could Help Solve the U.S. Doctor Shortage

Imagine being a skilled professional–a doctor even–respected in your field. And then war erupts, displacing you from your home, your family, your livelihood, your identity. When such a physician arrives in the United States, their credentials and expertise are erased and they must study for, and pass three United States Medical Licensure Exams (USMLEs), each of which involves fees and lengthy study programs. In addition, they must complete a residency program which are extremely competitive. Given the low-income, high-living expense lifestyles refugee doctors face upon arrival, these are steep barriers to overcome. TSOS is working to make these obstacles surmountable.

August 20, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

What Supporting Refugees’ Mental Health Looks Like

I want to help newcomers because I see myself in them. A young Afghan woman I mentor, we’ll call her Sarah, reminds me of myself 6 years ago. She is the same age I was when I came to the U.S. She is by herself. Sometimes I get emotional thinking about Sarah managing to start a new life all by herself. Cooking for herself, taking care of herself, and doing it without family or community.

July 24, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

One Sponsor's Journey

Like many of my peers, I discovered in my sixties that volunteering for causes I care about fills me with purpose and joy. So, when I heard that my small southern city was taking in more than 150 Afghan refugees, I signed up to help. As a white, middle-income, semi-retired woman, I’m a cliche among new refugee sponsors, motivated by the best of intentions, but not always the best awareness of all that sponsorship entails.


July 1, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

Stepping into Each Others' Stories

When describing the work I do here at TSOS, I often say, we try to help people “step into each other’s stories.” Lately, I’ve been doing more of that myself.

May 8, 2023

Volunteer Perspective

Building Friendships in the Community

Their Story is Our Story was invited to participate in “Welcoming Kansas City” to collaborate with and support groups ranging from Arabic communities to groups dedicated to supporting women who have been sexually abused or involved in human trafficking

March 31, 2023
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