On December 23, 2017, the Hyde Park Refugee Project, in partnership with RefugeeOne, welcomed its first refugee family to Hyde Park. Forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria due to the escalating violence and conflict there, the family of five made their way to Turkey where they eventually received permission to resettle in the US.
Through a broad and coordinated effort, volunteers secured an apartment for the family at a reduced rent; furnished and decorated the apartment with items donated by community members; stocked the kitchen with culturally appropriate foods; greeted the family at the airport; and welcomed them to their new home with a hot meal.
In the following weeks, volunteers worked closely with the family, teaching them how to navigate the neighborhood and the city via public transportation and orienting them on the basics of life in Chicago. Volunteers have escorted the family to various medical and administrative appointments, registered their children for school, enrolled the parents in English language programs, provided in-home language tutoring and mentoring, and have begun to explore potential employment opportunities. We will continue to support the family as they transition to self-sufficiency.