On October 23, in addition to seven other like-minded organizations, Hearts & Homes for Refugees announced the nonprofit has been inducted into the inaugural Leadership Cohort for the Hello Neighbor Network as a result of its exemplary work in helping refugees in Westchester County.
The Hello Neighbor Network brings together a cohort of nonprofit leaders that are dedicated to helping refugees as they navigate their new lives in America. The network was founded and created by Hello Neighbor, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization supporting recently resettled refugee families, that recognized organizations doing similar work siloed in cities across the country that could benefit from collaboration. The cohort will be responsible for generating new ideas and sharing resources that helps combat polarization and increase inclusiveness for refugees in communities across the nation.
“The need for collaboration among community-based organizations to help refugees in America is massive,” said Kathie O’Callaghan, founder of Hearts & Homes for Refugees. “The work of Hearts & Homes for Refugees can be replicated across the country in other communities. We are proud to be working alongside other grassroots community organizations and honored to have been chosen to participate in the first cohort of the Hello Neighbor Network. We think this is one more way that Hearts & Homes can grow in sustainability and impact.”
As a part of the network’s first initiative, the cohort commissioned a survey between volunteers and refugees to better understand the impact of refugee support agencies and nonprofits. Findings from the survey include:
• 92% (of refugees with children) felt their kids have more access to opportunities after working with an agency
• 91% of refugees felt more connected to the city they lived in
• 93% of volunteers believe their agency reduced polarization in their community
• 97% of volunteers said, as a result of volunteering, they advocate for refugee issues at local, state and national government levels
• One in two people volunteering or working for refugee agencies said their discouragement with the current political climate was one of their top three reasons for getting involved
Following the survey, representatives from all eight organizations of the cohort will convene in Pittsburgh on November 13 – 15, 2019. Leaders will be tasked with generating ideas and scaling resources to help mitigate the polarization gap most refugee families are facing in communities across the nation.
“As the global refugee crisis has increased, the United States has begun to strongly debate immigration policies and the arrival of immigrants and refugees in our country. As a nation, it’s time to empower a new generation of nonprofits focused on supporting refugees,” said Sloane Davidson, founder of the Hello Neighbor Network.
“The Hello Neighbor Network creates a critical platform for these nonprofits leaders to learn from one another, share best practices, and tackle challenges together.”
Led by Hello Neighbor (Pittsburgh), the first cohort includes representatives from the following organizations across the nation: Dwell Mobile (Mobile), Heartfelt Tidbits (Cincinnati), Hearts and Homes for Refugees (Westchester County, NY), Homes Not Borders (District of Columbia), International Neighbors (Charlottesville), Miry’s List (Los Angeles), Refugee Assistance Alliance (Miami) and Soft Landing Missoula (Missoula).
Hearts and Homes for Refugees is a nonprofit grassroots humanitarian organization that works with U.S. State Department-designated agencies to welcome, assist and advocate for refugees. They are a growing network of volunteers — families, neighbors, community organizations, and people of goodwill from all faith and civic groups — committed to offering refugees hope and opportunity. In keeping with time-honored American tradition, they offer refuge to those fleeing violence and persecution and identify and tap resources that aid refugee populations. They use their expertise and experience to educate, inspire and equip others to welcome the stranger.