Letter from the President: A Glimpse Into CVRAN
Dear CVRAN Community,
Were you at the Montpelier Senior Center two weeks ago? The room was buzzing with energy. Seventy-two people were there to hear more about CVRAN. Volunteers told stories about driving chattering toddlers to preschool, teaching women who have never had the chance to go to school, hosting a guest in one’s home, and making new friendships. Several guest-partners shared snippets of their lives. One man powerfully said, “We don’t want to leave behind our home, our family, our culture. We don’t want to start over in a new country and a new language, but we had to come – for our safety.” It was a stark reminder of why we all want to welcome these asylum seekers and refugees to a safer future…. just as the smiling faces of the volunteers were a reminder of how much joy there is in making new connections.
That was almost two weeks ago. What has been happening since? And where? There is so much begging to be told, and not all of it happens in Vermont. On just one day for instance, Tuesday of last week, we were working in three states. While one volunteer and her husband were driving two people down to the Government Center in Boston for a mandated court appearance, simultaneously several other people, including our pro bono lawyer, were arriving in New York City for an expedited asylum hearing, the time when one man would make his case to stay in the U.S. and find out within 2 weeks whether he will get asylum or instead be deported. Meanwhile in Vermont, we had just gotten a call from St. Albans about providing a bed for a Mexican woman who had been apprehended at the Canadian border, as both the correction center and the homeless shelters were full. The very next day, Wednesday, there was a flurry of excitement and communication back and forth about a new incoming guest-partner, Arnold, a man ready to head here from California once volunteers could scurry for plane tickets and transportation, winter clothes, a team of volunteers, and the host family ready his space.
Those are all dramatic moments, but much was happening closer in, besides. In the local Walmart, there was a “meet” between our treasurer and one of our team leaders, sending a small stipend to one of our guest-partners who has moved to NYC. There was an evaluation of a toddler to see if he qualified for help from Children’s Integrated Services, which required an interpreter and collaborating with a library to find space. There was a man taking a dump run with old furniture, children transported to basketball practice, and a goodbye for a 22-year-old who is moving to Virginia to go to college… (And who was going to help this 22-year-old’s mother find a used car? (Think of the world of CARFAX, VIN#, Kelly bluebook value, insurance rates, and registration details.) And how about setting up another new person’s English classes, doctor’s and dentist appointments, and phone? Many people in CVRAN are working on many fronts.
Meanwhile the wonderful creative fundraiser that energizes all this work is shaping up. Are you an artist, a writer, a musician, a poet? Amateurs of all levels are welcome. Go to CVRAN.org to sign up as an artist or to find an artist on the list to sponsor. You won’t regret a month of creativity arriving at your electronic doorstep each day. Then, there are applications for people who want to work in our newly created job position, at 20 hours per week. There are grants being written. Are you inspired? Jump onto this incredibly invigorating and inspiring network of people, that is doing so much good work. The Mexican woman called us angels for being open to doing the right thing at the right time. I am afraid we fall far short of that attribution, but each small bit does count!
Nicola Morris: The Barn
Rachel Walker Cogbill
P.S. The Mexican woman is now safely back with her family and her ankle bracelet, a “braceleta” is part of the past.
Two at top:
Needed right now:
- team members for our new guest partner, an African man who HAS NOW ARRIVED!
- an editorial person or team to help create and post content on our website.. low key and fun
- host homes for more individuals or families… a special way to develop a relationship
and more: talk to our wonderful volunteer coordinator about where you and your talents might fit! Just go to cvran.org to sign up as a volunteer, and then have a conversation