Individual Support and Connection to Resources
Welcome centers provide immigrants with personal help in a safe and comfortable environment. Volunteers answer questions, determine needs, and connect immigrants to other resources in the community.
The volunteers encourage self-sufficiency by helping each person develop a plan tailored to his or her needs and goals. This service is available in person or over the phone.
Susan Udall is the welcome center volunteer coordinator in Mesa. She noticed a need for English tutoring among adult immigrants and decided to start a weekly tutoring session at the center. While parents meet with the volunteer tutors, children participate in games, crafts, and musical activities in a nearby classroom. Older children are invited to participate in sports or youth leadership classes.
The tutoring program has been very successful. Immigrant adults are thrilled to strengthen their English skills, and over 50 volunteer tutors participate each week. Susan explained: “Our motto is to ‘empower them with hope.’ We do this by teaching them skills and connecting them with resources they need to survive and thrive.”
For more information about the Mesa Welcome Center, read “‘Empower Them with Hope’ at Mesa Welcome Center for Immigrants,” Church News, Dec. 28, 2017.
Salt Lake City, Utah:
Virginia Hahn is the manager of the Welfare Square Welcome Center. She told of a man from Eritrea, Africa, who came into the center needing help. He was unable to work or drive because of a detached retina in his left eye. Language barriers prevented him from communicating his needs at the eye center, which had dropped his case because he was unable to pay for surgery. Virginia said:
“I was able to connect him with the Department of Workforce Services and a local church, which paid to have his case reopened. I also went with him to the surgeon to explain his situation. She agreed to perform the surgery and directed us to some grants that could help cover the cost. Today my young friend can see through both eyes and has a steady job. The immigrant welcome center has turned into a lifeline for many and a blessing for all.”