Volunteers needed to help settle refugees in Amarillo

Volunteers needed to help settle refugees in Amarillo

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Refugee Services of Texas and Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle are helping resettle refugees in Amarillo and are looking for help so those new to the city can acclimate.

“Due to us being short staffed with the cuts in the refugee programs, we really rely on volunteers and we’re not able to do what we do without volunteers,” said Andrea Soliz, Area Director for Refugee Services of Texas in Amarillo.

“We’re doing a lot of education on just how to turn on a light switch, what a light switch is, what you can do with a microwave,” said Jeff Gulde, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle. “Many things that we take for granted, because we just grow up knowing it, and in many cases they don’t.”

Another need for volunteers is in ESL classes, where Refugee Services of Texas has one teacher for 20 students.

“With the one teacher, the volunteers will really come in handy with helping separate those students and really giving the attention that they need when they’re on a higher level,” said Soliz.

Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle has resettled about 25 refugees this year.

The organization is expecting to help 100 by September.

“If we can get someone to mentor a family and help them, not just today and tomorrow, but for weeks and months and build a relationship,” said Gulde. “That’s going to be better for our area, for those cultures that we’re helping to resettle and for everyone in general.”

Both organizations say working with refugees is a rewarding experience they hope the community will embark on.

“By the time you volunteer a few times and work with them, and maybe a couple weeks later you see the difference in them saying hi when they come in, saying have a good day, writing their name down,” said Soliz. “When you’re actually in it and experiencing it with them, it really touches you.”

To volunteer with Refugee Services of Texas, you can contact them at (806) 381-0099.

To volunteer with Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, you can give the organization a call at (806) 376-4571.

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