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 Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river.
1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.




(More History)