Welcome, Neighbor 2020
Building welcoming connections between Angelenos and their resettling neighbors has an essential and transformative impact on our community. Building off our initial success, Welcome, Neighbor 2020 provides Angelenos with interactive opportunities to learn about refugee resettlement in our city. Participants have opportunities to connect with new arrival families, volunteer virtually and in-person, and develop personal connections as neighbors.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
Refugees come to the U.S. seeking a safe haven from violence and persecution, leaving behind family, friends, and virtually everything they own. Miry’s List provides a network for Americans to directly help their resettling refugee neighbors get what they need to start their new lives.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
- City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
What is the need you’re responding to?
Refugee families often arrive in the U.S. without the network needed for a successful life. In 2020, the U.S. will admit up to 18,000 refugees. Despite lower admissions than previous years, Southern CA is a top destination for these families. Further, 11 of 28 resettlement agencies in CA closed in the last 3 years, severely limiting remaining agencies’ abilities to respond to families’ needs.
In 2018, Miry’s List launched Welcome, Neighbor, and engaged 40,000 Angelenos and 14 neighborhood councils to support resettling families. Last December, City Council declared LA an official Welcoming City for refugees. Welcome, Neighbor familiarized Angelenos with the refugee experience, giving touchpoints for interaction with new arrivals. 82% of 64 participants surveyed responded they “loved the experience” and want more. Welcome, Neighbor 2020 builds off these touchpoints, providing infrastructure for ongoing human connection and meaningful volunteering in support of resettling Angelenos.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
The vital community support that begins through Miry’s List is a milestone for resettling families, moving them from a “refugee experience” to a “resettlement experience.” We’re a hub for new arrivals and Angelenos. Resettling families are referred by previous program recipients. Angelenos wanting to make an immediate positive impact do so through our events and website.
Mr. Amiri, 75, from Afghanistan, who resettled in LA with his wife and 2 children in Jan. 2020, said, “I cherish the presence of Miry’s List for new arrivals. Miry’s List made us feel at home in LA, that we have everything and everyone in the U.S.”
Welcome, Neighbor provides accessible, fun, equitable space for Angelenos of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to develop meaningful connections as neighbors. The community-driven spirit of Welcome, Neighbor reflects deeply shared values. Our breadth of prior engagement demonstrates both ample interest in and readiness for an expanded Welcome, Neighbor programming in LA.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Angelenos care deeply about immigrants and refugees, evident by our civic leaders’ commitment and public enthusiasm for Welcome, Neighbor. When we support families resettling in our city as refugees, we give them hope for the future and strengthen our city as a whole. Welcome, Neighbor 2020 establishes a solid community-based infrastructure for sustained, meaningful connections between Angelenos and their resettling neighbors. Angelenos previously unfamiliar with the struggles of new arrivals have the opportunity to learn from the lived experience of their resettling neighbors. Personal connections established between new arrivals and longtime residents, over similarities and differences, create a lasting, multi-generational ripple effect.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Our vision for success is that the new arrival families touched by Welcome, Neighbor will feel safe, secure, and welcome in their new communities. We hope they’ll be integrated into the fabric of their neighborhoods, get to know their neighbors, and have a deepened understanding of LA values, thereby increasing their chances for a successful life in our community.
We also want to provide Angelenos with a greater understanding of the refugee resettlement system in the U.S., how it feels to resettle as a refugee in Los Angeles, and how to help our resettling neighbors, thereby creating a more welcoming community where we all belong. We aim to engage 5,000 individuals in sustained, tangible, ongoing actions in service to resettling families in LA. These include:
- Volunteering as a family advocate, welcoming liaison, or listmaker for Miry’s List wishlist program;
- Participating in community meal events and trainings;
- Giving a housewarming gift to a resettling neighbor through a wishlist;
- Providing social and emotional support virtually and in-person for a newly resettled family.
This participation will result in at least 5 large-scale events (at least 100 participants each), and 10 smaller-scale convenings (at least 75 participants each). We also aim to engage in 10 additional activations that are not considered events (i.e. Welcome, Neighbor days at schools where we educate students about the refugee experience, wishlist drives and collections, and community service projects).
Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?
- Social and emotional support
- Immigrant integration
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
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