Episode 6: Welcome to our podcast dealing with issues related to immigrants and refugees. In today’s episode, Executive Director Kevin Uyisenga is joined by Jay Schroder, Local Partner Team Leader at Southeast Christian Church, in Louisville. We’ll begin by talking about the Ukrainians who are fleeing the war. Some will be coming to the US. Jay and Kevin explain that there’s already a need for people willing to help others, so the message is to start now.
Kevin explains how See Forward Ministries and Southeast Christian partnered up to help immigrants and refugees in the Louisville area. As the Executive Director, Kevin is always looking for opportunities to work with local church groups to establish relationships and progress. It’s a team effort.
Jay came to Louisville 5 years ago. He works with many of the partners Southeast Christian has aligned itself with in the community. Jay comments how Louisville is a very welcoming area for immigrants and refugees. The opportunities to help are everywhere.
They’re Coming, but Not Yet
We discuss the challenge of people wanting to immediately step in to help with the Ukrainian families, but it’ll be some time before they actually arrive. The refugee and asylum process takes time. The risk is that this interest and willingness to help will fade by the time they get here.
Jay explains it’s important to begin working with organizations, such as See Forward Ministries, now – even if they aren’t currently serving the Ukrainians. There are many people who need your help now, not just those traveling from Ukraine. If you heart is moved to contribute, don’t wait. Act now.
The Need and the Work Never Stops
Kevin discusses Louisville and Kentucky in general with regard to refugees. Kentucky is the 6th largest state for refugees. There are many people who need help today. The work never stops. See Forward Ministries has many programs. You could easily find one that aligns with your experience, interest and talents. It could be as simple has helping children with their homework, reading with them, playing soccer or any number of other activities.
You’re Already Qualified to Help
Jay discusses how some of the everyday activities we take for granted are new to an immigrant or refugee. This creates an opportunity for you to help. If you are a parent, you understand how to register a child for school. An immigrant parent may not understand the process or the deadlines. If your child attends school with an immigrant or refugee child, you might help to explain any notice that the school sends home. These normal activities are challenging if you don’t speak the language well or understand the system.
Simple facts like how to find the best grocery store in the area, where/when farmers’ markets open, which gas station has the cheapest gas, stores or pharmacies that stay open late, etc. All of these insights are new to someone who isn’t as familiar with our community.
Kevin agrees with Jay. There is such a need for people to get engaged. We have many people who are interested in helping, but don’t know where to start. See Forward Ministries is a terrific starting point.
It Can be as Easy as Having a Conversation
If you’re learning a new language, it helps if you can just have a conversation with a native speaker. Finding someone who’s willing to simply share a cup of coffee or tea and talking is a great advantage for someone who wants to learn how we say things and how the words sound. Helping really is as easy as having a conversation. Being able to communicate effectively is a giant step forward for both children and adults. In Episode 3, we discussed how Newcomer Academy is an option for children to learn English as a second language, but adults may struggle more.
Kevin reminds us that we are in this together and life is better when we support one another. This is part of his objective to help others to reach their highest potential. Kevin experienced this firsthand, when he came to the US, himself. We discussed this in Episode 2.
We’d like to Jay Schroder for taking the time to speak with us. If you’re interested in helping with this effort, as Executive Director Kevin Uyisenga says, “Join Us!”
See Forward Ministries is a non-profit organization founded to be a bridge between those who are settling in our area and members of our community who may have an interest in getting involved, learning about different cultures and making this transition a little easier.
This podcast provides a platform for listeners to learn about this organization and the people who are involved with it. If you’ve ever thought about learning more about different cultures, this is an excellent opportunity. Please SUBSCRIBE to our podcast, so you get notifications each time a new episode is launched. Our plan is to launch a new one every 2 weeks.
Visit www.SeeForwardMinistry.com for more information. We’re also on various social media platforms. Let’s connect!