Charnelle Etti—2013 Fellow
Year: Class of 2015
Major: International Studies, Political Science, Human Rights and Humanitarianism (Con)
Organization: Lutheran Social Services
As a Chuck Green Fellow, I had the privilege of partnering with Lutheran Social Services. During the first 30 to 90 days after a refugee arrives in the United States, LSS Refugee Services offers services to help refugees adapt to their new home. The main focus of my project was to build capacity for a new LSS resettlement program which will resettle Congolese families in the coming months. My project consisted of two components, the first focused on creating co-sponsorship programs between LSS and organizations that could serve the Congolese arrivals. This included organizations such as A Voice in the Wilderness, Center for Victims of Torture and Alliance Francaise. These co-sponsored programs have resulted in ensuring that Congolese arrivals receive appropriate mental health screening and support. Each family will also have access to a mentor in the Twin Cities to help them adapt to life in the United States. Lastly, each Congolese family will be supported by other Congolese in the Twin Cities through A Voice in the Wilderness, a Congolese community-based organization. The second component of my work focused on building an extended orientation program for new arrivals as a part of LSS’s new model of extended case management. Given the newness of the community, the need to build a sense of community, and the special needs of the population, LSS-MN will now be able to provide cultural orientation to the Congolese arrivals in a group setting and over a longer period of time.