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The Rathbun Agency Blog

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July Quotes for a Cause - Michigan Refugee Hope

We are excited to run a monthly Quotes for a Cause campaign. Each month, our agency will be donating $5 per new business quote to a nonprofit or charitable organization, regardless of whether or not the policy is actually purchased.

In July, we partnered with Michigan Refugee Hope. They work to secure a future for unaccompanied asylees, refugees and immigrants who have lost support, and to serve as a resource for other organizations wishing to provide aid to these individuals. We were proud to be able to present them with a check for $500!

In the fall of 2017, Samaritas recognized a need in our community. Policies the government had put in place ensured they were only able to provide services for undocumented young people until the age of 18, unless they received their federal documentation by their birthday. Delays in immigration reform have placed these youth at risk and unless homes were found for them, they would be moved to jail or be homeless, wearing tethers for the duration of their immigration proceeding.

Because these children were aging out of the foster care program, they would need a place to live and someone would need to provide support.  There would be no financial assistance for them, no clothing, medical or dental care and they would not be allowed to work without documentation. They could attend high school to learn a trade, however they would not be allowed to work or continue to further their education without proper documentation. The staff at Samaritas reached out to other agencies and leaders for guidance and were told there was nothing that could be done. 

In desperation, Samaritas staff began reaching out to community religious leaders with whom they had relationships, to ask for prayers and to share the news of this dire reality. As 2017 drew to a close, Samaritas began to receive donations to care for these youth from individuals who had heard their story. At this time, Faith Lutheran Church began renovating their old parsonage to provide a home for these youth. Representatives from a variety of religious traditions came together (Presbyterian/Lutheran/Jewish/Muslim) to discuss how all might work collaboratively. Michigan Refugee Hope was born and Faith Lutheran Church volunteered to serve as their fiduciary.

In February 2018, the prayers and planning of the community came to fruition as the first youth reached his 18th birthday without receiving his documentation. Michigan Refugee Hope members were ready to welcome him. He moved into the house on his 18th birthday instead of being taken into custody by Immigration Detention and Deportation. Michigan Refugee Hope has supported several other youth since 2018 and continues to provide hope for youth as they approach their birthday and face uncertainties regarding the timing of their documentation. This community continues to live into the call to love and welcome all others. If you are able to support Michigan Refugee Hope, you can donate here.