Are We Done With Our Business Meeting Now?

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After fleeing their home, living for three years in another country and then coming to the United States for just thirty days, Jerry and his family were so grateful for everything, they were just eager to be hospitable to all, with tea!

By Danielle Bossert, Resettlement Manager

That was the question Jerry asked me after conducting the mandatory 30-day home visit. He wanted to know if our business had concluded because his wife and daughter had meticulously prepared afternoon tea.

For each refugee case that arrives to Philadelphia through NSC, there are a series of core services, resources and goods that NSC is required to provide them. These services begin, however, before the refugee even arrives!  Housing that is safe, sanitary and in good repair must be secured first. Then with the generous donations of furniture and household goods, NSC staff and volunteers clean and fill the house to be a welcoming home. The Health team reviews the bio data of each refugee and schedules the required medical appointments including blood work, vaccines, primary care and specialist appointments. With the help of volunteers, local businesses, congregations and organizations, food for the refugee(s) is acquired and placed in the kitchen of the home. Volunteers donate bags of groceries and prepare culturally appropriate home cooked meals. Then, we are ready to pick them up from the airport in order to orient them to their new house which has just been cleaned and made to feel like home. 

Over the course of the next 90 days, NSC’s case managers, employment, English and health teams work to provide the rest of the standard set of services, resources and goods. Twenty-four hours or less after the refugee arrives, the case manager conducts a home visit to review how to operate all things in the home such as locking doors and windows, flushing a toilet, using the oven and how to organize their belongings. NSC’s staff then coordinates efforts to help each refugee understand public transportation, apply for benefits, understand cultural norms, learn English, write a resume, get a job, access health care and fill prescriptions. Another home visit is conducted at the 30th day and the last one at the 90th day when the family should feel independent and self-sufficient. Though the required services are completed at the 90th day, NSC continues to provide refugees with other services such as green card application, English classes, case management support and referrals to other post-resettlement agencies who help refugees continue to build skills for independent living.

So it was at the 30th day home visit when Jerry said, “Are we finally done with the business now?" After taking a tour of his family’s home to ensure everything was working properly and that they felt confident using everything; after asking a series of questions about their adjustment, their budget, goals and plans for the future; and signatures on all of the paperwork could we finally be done with the “business." They invited me to sit on their couch while his wife and daughter brought out afternoon tea. They informed me that in the 30 days since they arrived, they had made and had afternoon tea with each of their neighbors. After fleeing their home, living for three years in another country and then coming to the United States for just thirty days, Jerry and his family were so grateful for everything, they were just eager to be hospitable to all, with tea!