Q-C group offers refugees a chance at a better life


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Posted Online: March 23, 2008, 9:07 pm
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By Reggie Jarrell, rjarrell@qconline.com

America is often called the land of opportunity. Refugees who are resettled here, though, often are just looking for the basics of life.

"Generally, they are looking for safety, to regain control of their lives and to be treated with dignity and respect," said Ann Grove, affiliate director of World Relief in Moline.

World Relief is just one of several international agencies helping in the resettlement of refugees. Since it was established in 1999, more than 525 people have received help through the Moline office.

Ms. Grove said refugees have to be creative just to get out of their countries safely -- sometimes in the midst of civil wars or revolutions.

A key to the resettlement process, she said, is someone to welcome the new residents.

"We want to be one component of a welcoming community that looks beyond the government mandates," said Ms. Grove.

Federal regulations require refugees, within six months of entering the United States, to have worked full time for at least six weeks. They also must reimburse officials any expenses for flying to the United States.

Integration into American society presents its own challenges -- adjusting to a new community, meeting new neighbors, looking for jobs, enrolling children in school and learning to navigate supermarkets and other unfamiliar types of stores.

"The challenges are many, and each individual has his own challenges," said Jack Knepp of Moline, who has helped refugees. "Generally it's easier, if the refugee is initially going through a difficult time, to see people from (his or her) own culture who have made it. This gives them hope."

For refugees, resettlement can be an arduous and lengthy process taking two or more years. They have no choice in where they are being sent, although authorities do try to send refugees to areas where they already have friends and family.

Ms. Grove said the Quad-Cities area, because of the lower cost of living and quality of life, offers advantages to refugees.

"They can get a patch of green (yard), a place to live, kids in school," she said. "It's a good place."

To learn more

For more information about World Relief, call (309) 764-2279 or see www.worldrelief.org.














 



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  Today is Thursday, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers of Rock Island struck for higher wages yesterday morning, asking 25 percent increases. Employers have acceded to their demand.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Lighting struck wires of the Merchants Electric Light Co. during a furious storm, and many Rock Island business houses were compelled to resort to gas as a means of illumination.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to erect a new edifice at a cost of about $60,000.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Willard Anderson, junior forward for the Augustana College basketball team, which won 17 out of 22 contests, was elected captain of the quintet.
1964 -- 50 years ago: John Hoffman, Moline, president of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts, will be honored for his 50 years in scouting by members of the council at a dinner Thursday evening.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Quad-Cities has what is believed to be the area's first elite-class gymnast. It's the stuff upon which Olympic competitors are made. Tiffany Chapman, of Rock Island, not only has earned the highest possible gymnast ranking, she won the honor at age 11.






(More History)