Co-sponsorship gives congregations and community groups the opportunity to partner in welcoming a family with refugee status to Minnesota. MCC Refugee Services leads co-sponsors in a supportive partnership in which co-sponsors assist new families for their first four months in the US and help them on the path to self-sufficiency. By offering support to new families, your community can welcome the stranger and help transform a refugee’s new country into a new home.
What is involved in co-sponsorship?
Congregations and community groups work with Refugee Services staff to help refugees get to crucial resources and learn their way around their new community. This process might include:
- Gathering essential furnishings and helping set up the family’s apartment
- Welcoming the family at the airport
- Providing transportation to initial appointments
- Assisting with school and English class registration
- Helping refugees learn their way around their new neighborhood
- Teaching the family about important local resources like libraries, parks and clinics
The most important role of a co-sponsoring congregation is to help new arrivals move towards self-sufficiency. This video, created by Episcopal Migration Ministires, is a great way to learn more about this opportunity!
Who can participate?
This opportunity is open to congregations in the Twin Cities area. Congregational co-sponsorship utilizes the unique gifts, talents, and resources of an entire faith community, and is steered by the efforts of a committed group within the congregation. A co-sponsorship committee is led by a coordinator, and individual members might focus on furnishings, school, employment, transportation, and hospitality. The core co-sponsorship team can range from 6-12 people. Congregations are asked to make a commitment for a 4-month period.
How are congregations supported in this work?
Congregations interested in refugee co-sponsorship begin by meeting with a Refugee Services staff member. Through a series of meetings, Refugee Services will help the congregation organize a co-sponsorship team, provide information about the needs and culture of the family, and inform the team of the family’s arrival. Refugee Services matches a congregation with a refugee family overseas after assessing the team’s needs and capabilities.
Once the refugees arrive, the co-sponsorship team works closely with the Refugee Services Volunteer and Outreach Specialist and the family’s caseworker, who serve as resources and guides through the resettlement process through weekly phone calls and monthly meetings. Congregations are mentored through the process of decreasing their support as the family becomes settled and MCC Refugee Services facilitates a closing celebration at the end of the co-sponsorship period.
Who do I contact to find out more?
Email Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (612) 230-3233 to learn more about the co-sponsorship process or set-up an informational meeting.