Educational Alliance’s Response to Asylum Seekers
Educational Alliance’s response to the influx of asylum seekers echoes our historic origins as a settlement house. As a Jewish organization committed to the core value of welcoming the stranger, we remain as dedicated as ever to helping individuals and families navigate their new lives in New York City. From its beginning over a century ago, EA has been organized to help new immigrants and has developed its own unique expertise on how best to welcome and integrate them into the fabric of the city.
Asylum seekers desperately need a holistic response to their challenges. Because they have arrived with so little, they are managing multiple issues. Moreover, many asylum seekers are without networks of support or human connections that typically are the root of human thriving.
Our response is grounded in foundational principles that have been at the core of the settlement house movement and Educational Alliance for well over a century.
- Treat the asylum seekers like neighbors, not intruders.
- Marshal a broad array of services so the multiple needs of each individual can be addressed.
- Embed each person in community.
At Educational Alliance, we bring together our own services alongside specialized, expert partners with a proven track record of success. Our Askwith Kenner Family Resource Center is already a hub for assistance and, depending on the financial resources available to us, can provide increased services to support those who come through our doors, including our newest community members.
The list of services is extensive – and depends on evolving needs – but includes the following:
- Bilingual social workers to provide counselling and connection to external resources
- Mental health support
- Substance abuse support and treatment
- English language instruction
- Clothes, food and other essentials
- Assistance with government forms such as work permits
- Working with EA’s school-based programs and school administrators to provide cold weather clothing for kids and connect families to our services
- Peer support groups and classes (such as parenting)
- Monthly “Welcome to New York” events where people will sign up for services and receive immediate support
What you can do:
- Drop off clothes and other provisions at the Manny Cantor Center or the 14th Street Y for use in our Reloved Boutique. The asylum seekers come from warm climates, so they particularly need warm clothes for the cold weather for them and their children.
- Volunteer to personally assist asylum seekers by helping families complete forms to receive work permits (Spanish language proficiency is particularly useful for this); washing and sorting donated clothes; and helping us run the Welcome to New York sessions.
- Donate to support the Educational Alliance’s assistance to asylum seekers. We are doing as much as we can, but we are seriously constrained by resources. Additional funds are extraordinarily important for this effort.