The Junior League of Cincinnati launched RefugeeConnect in 2013 after a routine community needs assessment determined that connecting refugees to existing resources was a pressing need for women and children in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky specifically has a long history as a refugee resettlement community, beginning with the Holocaust survivors during World War II.
Many American families have come to the U.S. fleeing oppression in their homelands. The initial community needs assessment revealed a lack of coordinated education, employment, housing, health care, and other essential services for refugees. The two years of research from 2011-2013 found a lack of coordinated refugee services in Greater Cincinnati. The findings identified that investing collaboratively in three key areas could change outcomes.
Close the gap between services provided and refugees' immediate and long-term needs.
Create pathways to self-determination and self-sufficiency.
Promote community acceptance through volunteerism.
RefugeeConnect helps refugees and asylees navigate often unfamiliar systems, new cultural norms, and language barriers. RefugeeConnect promotes coordinated services so that this specific population of new Americans, who may be unaware of the patchwork of crucial resources already in place, reach their full potential as individuals, families, and civic and community leaders.