Ithaca Welcomes Refugees (IWR) is a volunteer-led initiative, founded in December 2015, as a result of collective community reaction to the global refugee crisis. IWR works to foster a welcoming and fair environment for refugees and at-risk immigrants in our region.
Services and activities are designed to continue the development of Ithaca as a welcoming host community. IWR is actively working on long-term programming to address gaps in local community services, with the goal of reducing existing barriers to the integration and empowerment of refugees and at-risk immigrants. These programs include:
- Global Roots Play School - provides care 5 mornings per week to children ages 1.5 to 5, to enable parents to attend daytime English language classes.
- The Welcome Home program (formerly Resettlement Support) - provides apartment set up and basic needs support including financial assistance for new refugee arrivals, emergency assistance, food support, and early orientation for newcomers.
- Response Projects - provide groups of volunteers to offer longer term support for individuals/families through cultural and community orientation, interpretation support, accompaniment for appointments with community services, transportation, assistance with enrollment in community programs, and other specialized critical assistance identified through consultation with the individual/family.
In addition, IWR provides education for the wider Ithaca community on refugee and immigrant issues, works with partner organizations to promote welcome, and trains its volunteers for active service in the community.
Ithaca Welcomes Refugees