In the weeks following the arrival of our first refugee family, volunteers worked closely with the parents teaching them how to navigate the neighborhood and the city via public transportation and orienting them on the basics of life in Chicago. We escorted the family to various medical and administrative appointments, registered their children for school, enrolled the parents in English language programs, begun providing 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.
Prior to the uncertainty surrounding President Trump’s first executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Hyde Park Refugee Project had raised enough money from generous supporters to bring a second Syrian family to Hyde Park. Initially, we intended to place relatives of our refugee family who were living in North Carolina in an additional apartment made available, but the family ultimately decided to stay put.
In light of the temporary stay on the executive order, we are currently fourth in line to receive a new family appointed by RefugeeOne. With any luck, the family will arrive before any new travel restrictions are put in place. Either way, HPRP stand ready to welcome a new family and furnish the new apartment with items donated from our generous supporters and mobilize volunteers to help smooth the new family’s transition to our community.