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Get Involved: Refugee Services in Michigan

Photo of Refugees Welcome signDuring periods of unrest and uncertainty in the world, many people find themselves fleeing the homes they once knew and searching for community elsewhere. Others find themselves looking for opportunities to help those directly affected by unrest through volunteering or donating. There are many organizations the metro-Detroit area, as well as the entire state of Michigan that serve refugees and rely on community support to function. In addition to needing donations and traditional volunteers, many of these organizations need the assistance culturally competent, trauma informed mental health professionals, such as MSP students and alums.  If you’re interested in working with refugee populations here are 10 Michigan organizations to check out.

  1. Michigan Refugee Services – Multiple locations across Michigan
    • The State of Michigan’s Refugee Services program helps to welcome refugees to the state by providing assistance in 3 main categories.
      • Refugee Resettlement: helps new refugees (those who have been in the US for less then 90 days) find initial placements. This program is done through collaboration with local agencies.
      • Refugee Services Programming: a wide-variety of programming that assists refugees with anything job development, to tutoring, to naturalization, and more.
      • Refugee Assistances: provides low income refugee families with cash assistance from federal funding.
  2. Refugee Development Center – Greater Lansing Area 
    • The Refugee Development Center serves as the link between refugees and local businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and more in order to ensure that the needs of refugees are being met.
  3. Freedom House – Detroit 
    •  Freedom House provides asylum-seekers with a comprehensive list of services, most notably shelter and legal assistance.
  4.  Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates – Holland
    • Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates provides clients with holistic case management through a blend of legal services, advocacy, and community education.
  5. Refugee Education Center – Serving Western Michigan from Offices in Kentwood
    • The Refugee Education Center was founded by Somali Bantu refugees and works to support the educational journey of refugee children and their families.
  6. Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) – Offices in Dearborn 
    • ACCESS offers services to assist a multitude of populations. Services that are applicable to refugees include immigration and citizenship assistance, document translation (English, Arabic, and French), and English as a second language courses. They also run a specialized mental health program for survivors of torture
  7. Samaritas – New Americans Program – Multiple locations across Michigan
    • Samaritas runs one of the largest refugee resettlement programs in not only Michigan, but the country. Samaritas program includes assistance for K-12 students, youth mentoring, legal services, and foster care for youth who have been separated from their parents while escaping persecution.
  8. Jewish Family Services – Ann Arbor  
    • Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County runs a resettlement and integration services program that offers housing assistance, counseling services, and a program specifically focused on refugees from Afghanistan.
  9. Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan – Offices in Clinton Township
    • Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan’s immigration and refugee resettlement services provides refugees with 90 days of service to support their integration into American culture.
  10. ICNARelief Muslim Family Services – Detroit 
    • ICNARelief provides refugees with welcome packages including bedding, kitchen supplies, food and more along with provide traditional resettlement services.

If you need help determining what kind of opportunity is best for you check out this APA blog on Volunteering 101.