Volunteer opportunities for helping refugees in the Capital Region

991 Broadway Albany Nipper Building 2016-04-21We've had a few questions come up lately in which people were looking for some way to get involved locally with helping other people. Here's one opportunity:

The local branch of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants -- USCRI -- has an information session Thursday (February 16) for people interested in volunteering or somehow helping out the organization. It's at 6 pm in the org's offices at the Nipper Building in Albany (991 Broadway, Suite 223).

We heard from the director of USCRI Albany -- Jill Peckenpaugh -- this week that the local branch is helping 4,000 refugees in the Capital Region. The org helps people with finding apartments, furniture, housewares, as well as how to navigate things like paperwork and doctors appointments. We get the feeling there are plenty of ways a person could lend a hand right now.

If you're interested but can't make Thursday's information session, USCRI has another one lined up for March 16 -- same place and time.


Can you clarify the date -- today is Thursday, but it's the 16th, not the 18th.

Editors: It is Thursday, February 16. The day was correct, the date was not. Thank you pointing that out. It's fixed now. (Blame Greg.)

There's also RISSE, they are always looking for volunteers: http://www.risse-albany.org/index.html

Enough about refugees coming here.worry about Americans first....Vets homeless legal Americans...My grandparents came here from Italy had to do everything the right way to be considered an American they learned to speak English and didn't wave an Italian flag they held the American flag...I don't have a problem w anybody coming to America but do it the way my family had to ......

@Jim -- with all due respect to your grandparents' immigrant experience, organizations have been around for a very long time helping immigrants and refugees start new lives in America. The organization cited in the post -- the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants -- was founded in 1911. Other organizations -- the famous settlement houses of the early 20th century, the schools, churches, and ethnic organizations were all there to help refugees and immigrants learn English, get housing, get an education and jobs, and become citizens. I'm not sure what you mean by "the right way" to do this. Refugees are legally admitted into this country, as are many (not all) of the immigrants. Also, I don't think it's a contest between helping one group or a different group of people in need. Hopefully there are enough of us to donate our time and money to help all, without turning our backs on particular people. Let us remember that refugees have fled their home countries because they feared for their lives. I personally feel compelled to help immigrants and refugees because my family came here from Germany and Greece and there were welcoming people here to help them start new lives. That was the "right way" then and it's the "right way" now.

"I don't have a problem w anybody coming to America but do it the way my family had to ......" Even better - those who come to America do it the way they want to, not the way your family did. Absolutely nothing in your family's experience gives you any sort of place from which to criticize refugees. Especially two generations of citizenship after the fact.

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