The Harrisonburg Immigration and Refugee office has been in operation since 1988. For over thirty years this organization has helped resettle refugees from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Burma, Colombia, Congo (Kinshasa), Croatia, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Run by the Church World Service (CWS), the goal of this organization is to help these families establish themselves as functioning, self sufficient members of the community and promote long lasting stability in their lives. The CWS also teaches American language, culture, and skills that allow recent immigrants to better adapt to their new home. In addition to their resources, the CWS also contains a diverse and multi-lingual staff that is ready to aide almost anyone, no matter their English speaking ability.
Upon arrive, newcomers will be put through an orientation process that will give them a look at their future as they prepare for employment opportunities, explore American healthcare, and seek education. After initial orientation, they will embark upon their next step, the Cultural Orientation Class. This class covers the basics of the English language, and lets them know what to expect living in America. Though further instruction, newcomers will learn about a variety of new topics including housing and health, education, finances, and jobs in and around Harrisonburg. The CWS also maintains a partnership with Skyline Literacy to help eligible candidates study for the citizenship naturalization test and complete their immigration paperwork to become American Citizens.
In case you are wondering, “why the Shenandoah Valley?”, The Valley has been a welcoming place for refugee families for many decades now. Most of our clients are resettled in the Harrisonburg City area, but we regularly with families in Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Augusta county. This area provides an attractive resettlement site because of the affordable housing, diverse and welcoming community, and the abundance of entry level jobs in the poultry, agriculture, and hospitality industries.
The CWS has many volunteer opportunities every year. After a brief application on their website, volunteers can assist is many of the services and events that the CWS holds annually. These include weekly cultural orientation classes, classes on how to use public transportation, in home tutors, and guiding “field trips” to cities like Harrisonburg. The CWS also has internship opportunities that also can be inquired about via their online application. Visit their website calendar for information on upcoming events, donations are also accepted, every little bit helps!
Contact Us: 540.433.7942
250 E. Elizabeth St. Suite 215, Harrisonburg, VA 22802