A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.
Guest Megan O'Connor is the Executive Director of The Welcome to America Project, a non-profit organization that creates community connections and builds bridges of neighborly understanding by providing furniture, basic necessities, education, and additional resources to newly arriving refugees through the help of volunteers and donations. They have helped over 1000 families since 2001, when the organization was founded in response to 9/11. In 2009 the founder was honored as a CNN Hero. Every Saturday, groups of volunteers gather for move-in day where they help a family move into their new home. Families come from places like Nepal, Sudan, Afganistan, Iran, Iraq and the Congo and many have waited years for the opportunity.
On April 21, the foundation will be holding an annual fundraiser, a prom-themed dinner, dance and silent auction. Megan will share information on what the foundation does, the stories behind the refugees and how they come to live here legally, what they must do to come to the U.S., and what happens once they are here. For more details visit www.wtap.org.
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