The overall social justice goal of my internship organization, the Refugee Services of Texas-Houston Service Center, is to build and foster a welcoming environment for all vulnerable populations, including refugees, asylees, individuals with Special Immigrant Visas, Cuban-Haitian entrants, Central American minors, and survivors of human trafficking. The many services these clients receive during the 90-day period help them to become integrated within the American lifestyle. After this 90-day period, clients may choose to apply for additional support if necessary.
Based off of my experiences from the past week, I have witnessed the continuous care and support that the employees of the non-profit invest. Whether in the office making phone calls and writing case notes, or out on the road transporting clients to apply for benefits, all employees and interns work together to serve the clients’ needs. It all begins even before the clients arrive to the United States. People from the agency work hard to search for a vacant apartment, find the best electricity provider, and prepare all documents in order for admittance into the States to go smoothly. Once arrived, the clients are situated into their furnished apartments and the 90-day process begins. For more information about the first 90-day period, click here. During this period, the agency helps the clients to apply for a social security number, enroll into ESL classes, find employment opportunities, receive medical insurance and federal assistance, provide monetary assistance, amongst many more.
Clients who enroll into one service lead to further services. All of the services are required and are outlined in each client’s file. Case managers, employees who are directly responsible for the clients, are required to meet deadlines assigned in regards to the different services that the clients must receive. What progress looks like in this scenario is when, by the 90-day period, the clients become self-sufficient and are able to live on their own, and are employed. Very few of the clients who are able to be employed are unable to find employment. If you are interested in connecting refugee with employment opportunities, please visiting this link. This demonstrates how successful the agency is at getting the clients integrated into the American lifestyle.
However, many of the clients who come to the United States know little to no English. Although the clients are enrolled in ESL services, I would like to see how the clients have improved their English skills. This pertains to the adults specifically, who are not enrolled into schools unlike the clients of age to enroll into local public schools. There is still lots to learn, especially from the perspective of the clients. How comfortable do they feel as they have a new life now in the United States? What do they hope to achieve now that they have many more opportunities in life? What is the biggest barrier in life here in the United States? By knowing the answers to such questions from the clients themselves, it would give me a better idea of the different progresses that the agency makes throughout their 90-day service period.
In relation to my work of interest, I hope that clients will soon become autonomous of their own health care. While cost may be an issue, I believe that there are many ways and techniques to learn about preventative care that are low in cost, which will help to reduce any future higher costs procedures. As each client has health care insurance, taking advantage of such benefits means for them to become more healthy and independently aware of their holistic health.