A Look Back to 2021

A year of change, a year of coming together, a year of forging new paths when old ones wash away…

We began the year mitigating the continuing hardships of COVID-19 and ended the year with facing the challenges of the Afghan evacuation. So many of RAP’s traditional modes of operation transformed in the wake of sudden upheavals.

RAP provided assistance, showed support, and built community
• $1350 for workstations (desk, chair, lamp, charger, school supplies) distributed to 20 remote learning students
• Food to 7 families during Ramadan
• $15,700 for COVID19-related emergency rent relief (bringing the total 2-year rent relief to $22,000).
• RAP van to shuttle people and deliver item donations, bikes, furniture and more
• $1175 in clothing and equipment for 3 teens attending summer leadership camp (partnered with One World One Love)
• 60 people gathered at RAP’s annual picnic to enjoy halal food, swimming and great conversation
• $2250 grant from Westfield Service League for additional rent relief
• 60 backpacks with school supplies for children ages 5-18 (partnered with All Saints’ Episcopal Church)
• 100 blankets and 25 bags of toiletries for 70+ newcomers in Union County and Newark
• 800 toothbrushes for Afghan evacuees at the NJ Safe Haven (Ft. Dix/McGuire/Lakehurst joint base)

RAP launched a formal, robust volunteer training and preparation program
• Established training series with four one-hour interactive workshops to equip new and existing RAP volunteers as well as volunteers from partner organizations
• Formed design team to write Teaching Modules manual, organizing all skills taught by volunteers during the community orientation and skill-building assistance part of the RAP program
• Updated background check policy and procedure to include One World One Love volunteers with the joint tutoring program as well as RAP alumni who wish to volunteer
• Hosted Cultural Intelligence training session and disseminated information specific to Afghan culture
RAP fostered new collaboration and strengthened existing partnerships
• Joint all-virtual tutoring program with One World One Love enters its second year
• Issued letter of support for IRC/Church World Service joint community co-sponsorship grant application, along with One World One Love, RAMP, Welcome Home (Jersey City), Westfield Fun Club, and Cornerstone Counseling
• Joined Affordable Housing Working Group, an informal coalition with Welcome Home Jersey City, One World One Love, RAMP, and RAP to brainstorm about creative housing solutions for new arrivals outside of the traditional landlord-managed apartment rental model.
• Joined the NJ Coalition for Afghan Refugees with the Afghan-American Foundation at the helm.
RAP announces our intention for community co-sponsorship
• Seeks to engage in co-sponsorship relationship with a family in early 2022 while continuing the joint tutoring program as well as providing extended services at a scaled-back level. This is to address what problems we can mitigate among a very small portion of the estimated 65,000 Afghan nationals in the US in need of resettlement.