From Afghanistan to Ukraine, newly arrived refugees share a common story of perseverance in the face of adversity, punctuated by a ray of hope as they build new lives in the United States.
The team at Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan is preparing to welcome refugees from these regions and provide the support they need to adjust to their new communities, including housing, education and job placement. LSS groups and volunteers take an active role in securing essential resources, from household supplies to transportation, as each person and family works toward self-sufficiency.
LSS staff members are committed and prepared to support some of the 100,000 Ukrainian refugees the United States has pledged to receive but also understand the hardship of the road ahead.
“It’s a daunting task, and there’s a lot of heartbreak,” said LSS program manager Mary Flynn in a local television interview. “We are in the business of welcoming people that have had to flee a lot of violence and terror.”
The new Ukrainian arrivals come as the organization just finished resettling more than 160 Afghan refugees in the area. “Afghans came in a very short time and now the Ukrainians might come in a fairly short time,” Mary said.
Mary is an optimist and is holding out hope that the crisis in Ukraine changes for the better, saying, “I would love to be put out of business by a wave of peace.”
Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan is a member of Lutheran Services in America, a national network of 300 Lutheran health and human services organizations that lifts up one in 50 people in America each year.