April 26, 2022
Dear CVRAN Members,
Be Proud! This little non-profit proves that one person can change a life, or many lives. Diane Fitch persevered, and ultimately a man was released from detention. A Cabot farmer reached out to her neighbors, and is now feeding refugee and asylum seekers’ families fresh produce and home-baked fruit pies. Generous donors kept a car from going to the junkyard; it’s now on the road enabling an asylum seeker to get to work. And the Mexican Consulate will come to Montpelier again this year in person!
There was a good crowd in attendance at CVRAN’s annual membership meeting on April 21st. We couldn’t get away from having it on zoom, which has plusses and definite minuses. For those who missed it, there is a recording on the cloud. Some highlights are noted below.
The meeting started with a presentation by Laurie Stavrand, USCRI Community Partnership Coordinator (U.S. Committee for Refugees and immigrants). Laurie was very complimentary about CVRAN’s energies and our support of the Afghan families resettled in Montpelier. Laurie provided some color to the unprecedented humanitarian crisis that the US pullout in Afghanistan has created. Since last November, Vermont has received 148 refugees from Afghanistan. At this time, all the Afghans who were lodged for as long as eight months on US military bases have been resettled. Now, Afghans are moving off military bases in third countries such as Qatar to the United States, and a second, albeit smaller, wave of refugees is expected shortly. USCRI expects to receive Ukrainian refugees, too, but likely not until late October. Laurie added that housing is an ongoing problem. The Afghan refugees have considerable medical and dental needs. Their legal needs will also be sizable, depending on pending legislation.
Team leaders each gave reports. CVRAN currently supports eight asylees: our first four-member family, and four individuals- two from African countries and the two most recent from Russia. And intensive work began in December when Wendy and Steve Dale became hosts/family friends/team leaders/ for one of the Afghan families, as well as reaching out to other Afghan families in Montpelier.
The year had so many successes to be proud of, including new collaborative ventures – NEKASAN, Equal Exchange Food Hub, Montpelier Senior Center, USCRI, educational outreach efforts to local organizations, new volunteers, and an awesome fundraiser led by Nicky Morris. Nicky spoke about the March Arts Marathon, which she has chaired for two years. Not only is it our biggest fundraiser, clearing more than $68,000 this year, it is an amazing community building project.
Elections were held. CVRAN elected a new president -Rachel Walker Cogbill! And returning, this time as secretary, is Diane Fitch. Jen Myers continues as treasurer and Rebecca Plummer as a board member. Elected as board members at large were Priscilla Fox, Sarah Hofmann, and Hope Crifo. Still needed is a vice president. We also have an unfilled seat on the board.
Leaving the board after making major contributions are Lucy Wollaeger, who was also a member of the leadership team this past year; Dinah Yessne; and Wendy Dale, our long-term board secretary. Each has pledged to continue to volunteer, Dinah and Wendy intensively in direct service roles.
- Volunteer table person and/or runners for the “Race Against Racism” on 5/01 at Montpelier High School at 10am. It’s fun and the weather forecast is sunny. This is an event organized by students of the high school.
- A vice president and board member at large. Great opportunity to shape CVRAN policies and activities.
With great gratitude for all of your work,
Outgoing president, Hope Crifo
Incoming president, Rachel Walker Cogbill