About 200 people attended the recent Jewish Family Services of Greenwich summer celebration to honor volunteers in the JFS Afghan Placement Assistance Program.
In November 2021, JFS of Greenwich became an Afghan refugee resettlement agency under the auspices of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
Funded by federal, state and private foundation grants, the Afghan Placement Assistance Program team is made up of community agencies including CCI and Family Centers, religious institutions, civic groups, and individual volunteers.
The Afghan Placement Assistance Program provides housing, food, medical care, education, job placement and immigration assistance.
In addition to finding housing and supporting rent where necessary, families receive other types of support, including ESL classes, private tutoring in English by volunteers, help with enrolling children in school from pre-k through high school, scholarships for children to attend summer camp, and medical and dental services, which was an enormous undertaking for which JFS works closely with Family Centers. Families also receive financial planning education, mental health support, and in general, a great deal of one-on-one help with acclimating to a society so different from Afghanistan.
In addition, there is the complex and labor-intensive immigration assistance JFS provides each adult individual so that they can apply for asylum in the United States and obtain permanent resident status in the form of a Green Card.
In addition to their local families, JFS of Greenwich is providing immigration assistance to about 10 additional families living in the New Haven area.
Although only required to provide three months of services, JFS of Greenwich has obtained grant funds for specific activities to support the longer-term needs of their clients, both those living locally and from other towns.
They have received state funding to provide up to two years of support, with possible extensions.
All together, JFS of Greenwich will serve about 100 people in the Afghan Placement Assistance Program.
There were almost 200 people in attendance at the June 29 event, including Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo and State Rep Steve Meskers (D-150). Also in attendance were representatives from community partner organizations such as Greenwich United Way, Dept of Human Services, Greenwich Public Schools, Greenwich Country Day School, and Children’s Learning Centers, as well as churches and other groups in town.
The event was held at Sandy and Steven Soule’s home in Riverside. Thanks to the generous greater-Greenwich community, over $53,000 was raised for programming at JFS of Greenwich.