International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville (IRC)
Since opening its doors in 1998, the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville has helped more than 2,600 refugees achieve economic self-sufficiency, a sense of security, and social integration into the larger community. IRC offers a wide variety of programming including employment services with job readiness training, English classes and other educational offerings including life skills and financial literacy, case management with special services to clients needing assistance with medical or mental health issues, and school liaison activities for families and school age children. IRC’s immigration services are available to all community members seeking assistance with permanent residency or naturalizing as a U.S. citizen and its interpreter services provides trained community interpreters speaking more than 15 different languages to local agencies and businesses. IRC is expanding its New Roots program, which supports community gardens and employment opportunities for refugees coming from agricultural backgrounds. Through New Roots, in 2014 IRC will begin to train refugees in agricultural practices and marketing strategies and assist them in the creation of incubator farms with a goal of selling produce for income generation. IRC resettles approximately 200 refugees each year in Charlottesville and expects to receive families during the coming year from Bhutan, Burma, Colombia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, and Palestine.Community members and students from the University of Virginia provide tremendous support as volunteers, working with staff in the office as well as directly with newly arriving families as family mentors and ESL tutors. Financial contributions from the community allow IRC to provide refugees with much needed help for medical expenses such as glasses, dental care and hearing aids as well as housing and maintenance support. In-kind donations of clothing and household items are always appreciated. For more information, visit rescue.org/charlottesville or email us at Charlottesville@rescue.org.