A Look Back to 2022
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2022 - a year of caring
Over the past six years, RAP has weathered many storms. Throughout this journey, we have honored Sankofa, the ancient African concept of looking back and learning from the gems of our past (borne of hardship AND triumphs) while moving forward with a mindset of hope and focusing on the future. This year, RAP focused on building a secure future for our clients, our volunteers, and the organization.
In 2022, RAP launched our second strategic plan, and identified five core values, many of which overlap with each other. Our impact echoes these beliefs: WELCOME, COLLABORATION, COMMUNITY, RESILIENCE, and RESPECT. All of RAP’s activities underscore and amplify these values, especially when tackling particularly complicated and difficult needs which would not otherwise be addressed.
One of our many volunteer teams were introduced to an Afghan family in the spring. The wife was pregnant and had had almost no prenatal care due to lack of medical insurance and community connections. With a high-risk pregnancy and no English, her baby’s life was at stake. Our team worked for months, and established consistent medical care and health insurance before welcoming her healthy baby boy into the world. We also brokered preschool for their two other children to provide them with English immersion and social interaction. RAP also established the family in a new, spacious apartment within their means.
For another Afghan teen, his RAP family care team arranged quality dental care to replace a lost tooth and regain his self-confidence along with his exuberant smile. The team also supported his brother by helping him to find gainful employment and orienting him to the bus system and many community resources.
Over the course of four months, RAP provided nearly 700 hygiene kits to new refugee arrivals with the help of many individuals, community partners and supporting houses of worship. These simple supplies helped to sustain the dignity and wellness of these families as they work to build a new life here in NJ.
RAP’s tutoring program expanded to more than 30 students enrolled for ESL, driving lessons, GED preparation and academic instruction for adults and children. We provided laptops, printers, technical training, and curriculum materials. Our education program also equipped several students with coaching, books, and dorm supplies as they began their higher education at Union County College, Rutgers University, and the University of Notre Dame.
RAP also began a support group for mothers with children under age 5 affected by the trauma of forced migration. The group is facilitated weekly by mental health professionals within the RAP network, trained in cultural competency, childhood development, and the unique challenges refugees face in resettlement.
These are merely a few examples of RAP’s impactful work. We gather to celebrate building a strong community of welcome together with volunteers, client families and supporters.
In 2022, RAP felt acutely aware that no one is alone in this work. We are part of a vast landscape of refugee resettlement being built out by groups, both large and small, all across the nation. It is absolutely thrilling to imagine the possibilities of such a formidable movement! We invite you to share in these possibilities, brimming with hope and promise, and join with RAP in choosing welcome!
A Year in Pictures
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