In 2016, MRAP partnered with the Detroit Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Samaritas New American Services to create the Welcoming Liaison Program (WLP), connecting students with recently resettled refugees in their communities.

In the face of the displacement crisis, the Welcoming Liaison Program endeavors to change the way in which students look at this humanitarian cause while creating stronger, more welcoming communities.

WHY LIAISONS?

Unique in its ability to connect volunteers with recently resettled refugees for an extended period of time, WLP fosters relationships between communities and offers additional resources for recently resettled individuals and families as they navigate a stressful and new environment. By working with and on behalf of recently resettled refugees, WLP helps build community and mutual understanding between new Michiganders and our volunteers while working to dispel stereotypes about immigrants and refugees.

 

WHAT'S THE COMMITMENT?

Welcoming Liaisons make bimonthly visits to refugees’ homes, assisting them with daily needs and familiarizing them with the neighborhood, vital city services, and community resources located within their new city. Our Liaisons are committed to visiting their partner families a minimum of twice per month and at a minimum of 4 hours per month. We believe that this long-term cross-cultural experience will help bridge the gap between refugees and our volunteers while dispelling stereotypes about immigrants and refugees.

 

WHAT COMES NEXT?

In its first year, MRAP volunteers helped make WLP a success – 40 volunteers worked with ten families from Syria and Iraq and logged 242 volunteer hours working with their families.  Through crowd sourcing and University fundraisers, we raised over $5,000 to support resettlement agencies throughout the state of Michigan. Our volunteers also provided support with translation, transportation, education, and cultural awareness.

We are now looking for students from University of Michigan Dearborn and Wayne State University to join our volunteering efforts in the Detroit area.

If you are interested in joining our volunteer team this fall, contact:

Nicole Khamis

nlkhamis@umich.edu