Letter from the President: Reflecting on 2022

December 18, 2022 0 Comments


Reflecting on 2022

December 16, 2022


During these cold wintry afternoons, in the early dark, the year 2022 is drawing to a close. It feels time to pull up a cup of tea and ponder where CVRAN is as an organization and where we are in our work. Thanks to all who have invested so much this year in helping asylum seekers and refugees take root in Central Vermont. You are lighting candles in the dark.

First, a shout-out to our new companions here in Vermont. Congratulations on accomplishing some of your dreams: arriving here to safety for yourself, and perhaps your family first of all. What an accomplishment! You and we are hoping it will work for you to stay. Meanwhile, you are accomplishing so much: getting children into school; getting work or volunteer work; learning English; getting driver’s licenses, and perhaps a secondhand car; having a good place to live; seeing to medical needs, and applying for asylum. You are setting down strong roots in our communities. Hurray for you, and hurray for those lucky communities! There are 28 of you directly under our care, but many others whom we support in some way.

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PHOTO: Steven Tendo receives permission to stay another year, and shares his story with a CVRAN general meeting that evening!

Volunteers, we can’t forget you. You are the ones that figure out the paperwork, make the appointments, drive people to them, make conversation and friendships despite language barriers, invite folks to join you for an event, babysit a youngster, host someone in your home, act as a team leader for a family, mind our treasury, create our volunteer list, fundraise, remodel our website, sit on our board, and excel at many more tasks. You are essential. Keep up the good work and recruit your friends. Your hard work controls how many new asylum seekers or refugees we can take on. Thank you.

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PHOTO: The corn maze needed little interpretation.

Donors of clothes and furnishings, donors of gift cards, donors of money, payers of membership dues, you are sharing both the necessities and the keys for functioning in our society. You are opening up pathways to inclusion, helping pay for legal fees or medical fees, setting up basic allowances for each family, and more There are many ways we hear thanks. One of them is, “Que Dios le pague”, or may God repay you.

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PHOTO: Trying on shoes at Lenny’s – The donor’s 7-year-old and our 7-year-old independently picked the same shoes!

Over the last year CVRAN as an organization has grown and changed to meet new needs. In April at our annual meeting we got many new officers, including a new president and some new members on the board. We started out with a new structure that includes a coordinator of direct services, who works with all the team leaders. As the year has progressed, we have welcomed a new treasurer and set up a finance committee for the first time. As the year closes, we are considering hiring our first part-time paid staff person to be a coordinator of several teams, in Spanish! Currently, the new version of our website is under development with the hard work of a small team.

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PHOTO: The new treasurer, Don Welch, speaks at our general meeting.

Finally, our higher profile has meant some impressive fundraising. The many artists participating in the March Arts Marathon again brought in the bulk of our funds, close to $70,000, substantially more than the previous year. As our profile becomes more prominent, we have also received some grants and many individual donations. At the same time, we have received many requests for help as well, more than we can possibly fill, but each of you who helps allows us to do a little more. As our resources and understanding grow, we also see ways to expand our mission such as investigating the potential for more low-income housing or new legislative policies.

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PHOTO: Sue Morris sells Equal Exchange Products to benefit CVRAN. (To order yourself go to http://justfoodhub.us/CVRAN-2/ )

Come and participate. Join us for our special January event, “CVRAN: Getting Involved”, at the Montpelier Senior Center. On January 17, 5-6:30 pm, volunteers and CVRAN sponsored new neighbors will share their stories. Come and discover new opportunities to help asylum seekers and refugee families settle into our communities.

Consider signing up for the March Arts Marathon. You do not need to be a professional! Just go to cvran.org in January to sign up as an artist, and/or in February sign up as a sponsor of an artist so that you will receive artwork from that person every day in March.