BE A WELCOMER.
SPONSOR A UKRAINIAN FAMILY
A MEANINGFUL WAY TO HELP:
SPONSOR A FAMILY
7 million Ukrainians – most of them women, children and the elderly – have fled in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Most have found safety and support in European countries. Through the Uniting for Ukraine program, the United States joins European countries as a safe haven for Ukrainians and has created a pathway for 100,000 Ukrainians to the U.S. For a Ukrainian family to come to the United States, they must first have a sponsor in the United States who agrees to support them and help them get on their feet during their stay. The Selfreliance Association is working to pair amazing sponsor groups with Ukrainian families arriving in the U.S.
Sponsorship is the ultimate neighborly act. Sponsors provide day-to-day support to make sure Ukrainian newcomers are welcomed and have the information and tools they need to start a new life in the U.S.
Sponsors serve as a guide to life in the United States and to their city or town.
- Sponsors meet newcomers at their airport
- They help newcomers find permanent housing and move in.
- They help newcomers find furniture and other goods needed to set up a new home
- They make sure children are enrolled in a local school and that the family is connected to a healthcare provider, including through enrollment in a health insurance plan
- They help parents apply for jobs
- They make sure they know where to shop for groceries, how to take public transportation, and where to find community resources like English language classes and the best places to spend a weekend afternoon
More than anything, they make sure that newcomers feel at home by being the friend they can rely on when they have questions, and the person who will make them feel at home and included in their new community.
The war in Ukraine has displaced more than 10 million people, including more than four million children. No one should have to live through that experience, but for millions of Ukrainians, it is now a turning point in their lives.
The people fleeing the war in Ukraine are our future neighbors, and they come from all walks of life. Some will come with their children or parents, and some on their own. American communities will benefit enormously from their expertise, experience, and courage. But first they need your friendship and support.
One of the most important things a sponsor can do is be a good friend to a newcomer as they navigate the challenges of being displaced and starting a new life in safety. Providing emotional support and being a friend during a difficult period in their life is one of the most rewarding aspects of sponsorship.
There are lots of reasons to think about getting friends and family together to form a sponsor group – it makes the work easier, can be deeply rewarding and helps the arriving family know more people in the community.
Sponsorship carries with it some basic financial responsibilities, and while there is no specifically required amount, you and your group should plan to raise at least $3,000 for each person sponsored to help the family you are supporting get settled in the first 90 days after their arrival in the United States [Want to get started today raising funds for a family? Start a fundraiser!]). Remarkably, most working-age refugees - given support and guidance - become self-sufficient within six months of arriving in their new communities.
As a sponsor, you are a bridge-builder, an ambassador of welcome, a friendly neighbor, and a tour guide to life in the United States. But your ultimate goal is to work yourself out of the role of sponsor and into the role of cheerleader – you want to empower and support newcomers instead of doing everything for them. By seeing your role as a partner, you will help set them on a path to independence and successful integration.
Just as you would with a friend or loved one, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure newcomers are equipped with the tools and skills to be resilient and succeed.