Letter from the CVRAN President: Numbers Make a Picture

May 25, 2022

Dear CVRAN Community,

CVRAN Community? Well, just what does that mean? It means the 65 registered as members, the 113 registered as volunteers, the 315 on the listserv, and the 35 at our annual meeting. And, if you are not signed up in these spaces, please consider doing so. It means all those who organize the details, write thank-you notes, bake food, drive someone to the store or the mosque, teach driving, reach out to Afghan kids, or update the website. It means the 50 artists in the March Arts Marathon and the people who sponsored them and made 1,000 donations. It means the treasurer and the team leaders, the direct services coordinator, and all the officers and the board, and it means you!

Most of all, though, the CVRAN Community means our heart: the refugees, asylum seekers, and migrant workers whom we serve. As you so well know, our goal is to welcome them into Central Vermont, and facilitate their transition to this new country, a new culture, and often a new language. We currently are partnering directly with 8 asylum seekers and 8 refugees, along with others in a less formal way. Looking for a way to connect with them, socially or service-wise? Just hit the volunteer button on our website cvran.org to say how you’d like to interconnect, and Kathie O’Connor, our volunteer coordinator, will get you set up! For instance we have one man who really wants to get out on the water in a boat! And we need a team leader in Stowe, and always drivers and host families.

As usual this active, vibrant community has been busy. On Saturday there was such an atmosphere of joy at the mobile Mexican Consulate. One migrant worker I knew came out beaming and holding up his fresh new Mexican passport. There were lines for the tacos and enchiladas, and free food besides. Some got COVID vaccinations or other medical, or legal, advice. Friends from different farms greeted each other. So far there is not an exact count of farmworkers served, but there were over 80 with appointments, plus many walk-ins, so the estimate is that over 100 farmworkers came. In a day or two you will see photos of this event taken by Terry Allen posted on our website. Thanks to all who pitched in!

Something else that makes a newcomer happy is graduating from receiving rides or taking the bus to having one’s own independent transportation, often a necessity in our rural state. This month a generous donation has become a car fund. When an individual is in need of a used car, a piece of the purchase price will come from this fund, along with a matching amount we raise from others. Donors continue to be very generous. Money has come in to send not only the children of our particular family connection to camps this summer, but also other Afghan children. Some grants are also in the works. Equally important, of course, is the donations of goods– bikes or dishes or mattresses, etc.– or services—the gift of your precious time and friendship.

A happy number to end on: Celebrate the extensive use of our website. Ben Witte, our website developer, says we are up to 30,000 hits in the two years the website has been in existence.