Local organization steps up efforts to welcome up to 200 Afghan refugees in Colorado Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS – For Afghan refugees, moving to another country has its challenges, but a local organization is helping to make that transition a little easier.
Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountain is located in Colorado Springs and has been helping Afghan refugees integrate into the Colorado Springs community since 2012. Soon, however, the organization will serve up to 200 Afghan refugees who will relocate to southern Colorado.
Floyd Preston has been the organization‘s program director for 15 years, and he says staff have stepped up efforts to deal with the large number of refugees settling in the area.
He also mentioned that the staff must be ready at all times to help the refugees. Sometimes they only get two days’ notice of a family’s arrival. Other times it’s a week.
âOur job then is to take action and find accommodation, we have to find an apartment, we have to put furniture in the apartment, we have to make sure the fridge is stocked with food,â Preston said. “We help them with food stamps, medicine, ESL classes, we enroll the children in school, we also help them with employment and make sure they have resumes. so they can get interviews. “
The organization has been helping refugees for 45 years and welcoming them into the community. Preston says they are currently providing services to more than 30 Afghan refugees.
âThey were very grateful. Some of them saw a lot of things, a lot of things that you saw on the news with them traveling and coming here and running away from the Talbans,â Preston said. âA lot of them come with the bare things they have on their backs, so anytime we are able to provide clothes or help they are extremely grateful.â
News5 also spoke to Sohailia Fariyar, who arrived in the United States as an Afghan refugee in 2015. Today, she is a case coach for Lutheran Family Services and helps others in similar positions. She knows firsthand what the challenges were when moving to America.
âWhen you move to another country, it’s very difficult because you don’t speak the language and you don’t know the culture, you want someone to help you,â Fariyar said. “But it was a good feeling when I met someone at the airport who was waiting for me with my family. They took us to the apartment which was already finished, there was food and groceries. ready, and a bed to sleep in. There are people who care and it’s a good feeling. “
Fariyar and his family got help from the organization and were also able to find safety. Now she has the opportunity to help others.
âI was happy because my family was safe because of the war in my country,â Fariyar said. “It gives me a good feeling when I help the refugees who are arriving. I am so happy that they are safe,” Fariyar said.
The organization also mentioned that it is hiring more staff to prepare for the influx of refugees it will see in the coming months.
Refugees can receive services from the organization for up to five years. Sometimes they also need help if they have lost their jobs or want to go back to school.