The F.C. Tucker Giving Circle was established to give agents and staff the opportunity to pool their donations as a group, nominate worthy local philanthropic organizations for funding and then vote on which organizations to support. For 2021 funding, 33 incredible organizations applied and agents and staff selected nine to receive a combined $81,000 in grants.
Each month, we’ll feature one of the nine organizations to learn more about the amazing work they do in our communities.
Getting to Know Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc.
What population of people and geographic area does your organization serve?
For 40 years Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. has been dedicated to the protection of human rights by serving the resettlement needs of refugees and other displaced people fleeing persecution, injustice, and war by welcoming them to Indiana.
We provide a wide range of programs and services that address the unique challenges of refugees and immigrants of humanitarian concern in the Greater Indianapolis Area. Specifically, we resettle individuals and families representing many nationalities, such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Central African Republic, China, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria.
What is the story of your organization’s founding?
Exodus has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylees from many countries, cultures, languages, faiths, and political opinions. Exodus began in 1981 with the mission to serve the legal needs of immigrants and Cuban refugees, who had arrived as part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980. Exodus established itself as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1993. Since that time, Exodus has helped thousands of refugees establish their lives in Indiana.
Today, Exodus is part of a well-established network of providers for U.S. refugee resettlement and is the largest refugee resettlement agency in the State of Indiana. It is the primary agency that serves refugee newcomers and immigrants of humanitarian concern from prior to arrival through self-sufficiency.
What one thing most surprises people about your organization?
People are surprised by the wide range of immigrants of humanitarian concern who we serve. Our client population is extremely diverse and includes refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, parolees, special immigrant visa holders, and certified and pre-certified victims of human trafficking. The client population also represents a wide variety of ethnicities and religions.
Tell us about one of the programs you offer.
Thanks to the generosity of the F.C. Tucker Giving Circle, the Mental Wellness Program at Exodus Refugee Immigration will be able to continue its critical work that meets the needs of vulnerable refugees and immigrants of humanitarian concern. Through individual and family therapy, group counseling activities, educational workshops, and referrals, the Mental Wellness Program provides vulnerable clients with the tools they need to overcome mental health challenges, proceed on their paths to self-sufficiency, and thrive in the United States. This program has been especially critical recently, as the pandemic has brought on additional stressors for the agency’s clients. Recently, a refugee enrolled in counseling shared, “I know that you cannot make changes to my life but I am able to say what is in my heart and we talk about what I can do to be happier.”
If people want to volunteer with your organization, what is their next step?
Interested individuals can visit www.exodusrefugee.org/take-action/volunteer/ to find out more about volunteer opportunities at Exodus. The following describes the steps to becoming a volunteer at Exodus:
- Interested individuals can visit https://www.exodusrefugee.org/take-action/volunteer/
- Complete an online application.
- Attend Refugee 101 Training.
- Complete background check.
- Attend a training specific to your chosen volunteer opportunity.
- Youth mentors will be expected to complete an in-person interview.
Under normal circumstances, there are many opportunities for volunteers to assist in the refugee resettlement experience, but the current health crisis has limited Exodus’ volunteer opportunities. Exodus expects to resume these opportunities when the COVID-19 crisis ends. These opportunities include the following: (1) teaching English; (2) family mentoring; (3) teen mentoring; (4) welcome teams for new refugee arrivals; and (5) front desk/administrative assistance. All volunteers must be at least 18 years old.
For help identifying the right volunteer opportunity for you, contact Sara Hindi, our Community Engagement Coordinator, at [email protected].
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
Exodus provides culturally and linguistically appropriate services through a variety of programs designed to assist refugees reach full self-supporting lives, including initial housing, social services, comprehensive case-management, cultural orientation, English language training, job readiness training, employment transportation assistance, financial literacy, youth services, women’s services, mental wellness services, asylum seeker services, legal services, and more. In addition, Exodus is recognized as a model agency in the national network of which we are a part and is frequently asked to present workshops on our programs and best practices at national resettlement conferences.
For more information, please visit www.exodusrefugee.org.