Our Mission is to provide comfort and support for people who seek asylum and refuge. Our volunteers connect personally and accompany them as they navigate challenges such as: immigration court, shelter, health care, and work. We find resources that support their goals and healing from trauma. We are committed to the truth that every human being is worthy of a safe place to live and thrive.
The Santa Cruz Welcoming Network is an all-volunteer group of concerned community members dedicated to welcoming asylum seekers and other refugees and providing them with a network of care. The network was formed in 2019 by local residents, many from faith-based congregations. While recognizing the need to work for major change in the U.S. immigration system, we also recognized the urgent needs of many immigrant families in our own community. We began by assisting an individual from Honduras to get out of detention and settle in our area, navigate life in the U.S., get a job, and become totally independent. Since then we have been able to help many other individuals and families in similar ways.
Referrals come to us from public school officials, local nonprofit service agencies, and organizations working at the borders. We meet with the family or individual to see what their needs and strengths are. We try to discern whether the Welcoming Network’s resources will be a good fit. If volunteers step forward to form a team, we proceed to assist the family. Team members coordinate to manage assistance and to make it easier on our new neighbors to get needs met.
We are an all-volunteer organization; no staff, no office, just a lot of good and organized energy. Our volunteers also have resource packets with sources that can help in the areas of health services, employment, legal services, and food resources. In some cases, volunteers offer a specific expertise, such as translation, assistance with computers, or filing legal forms. The most amazing multiplier effect occurs through Welcoming Network connections. For example, one volunteer may help a new neighbor pass their driving test, while another finds a donated car!
In some cases, we may offer modest financial assistance for a limited period of time while the family/individual is getting settled. All the people we have accompanied are eager to work and become self-sufficient.
As new needs arise, new volunteers and offers of help come forward. That is the Good News of the Welcoming Network.
The Welcoming Network serves refugees from all over the world.
Afghan refugees say "Thank You” by sharing food.