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Dear PRSG Family,
As we continue to see some of the hottest temperatures on record here in Oregon, we at PRSG continue to work hard for our clients and strive to improve ourselves every day. We cannot emphasize enough the gratefulness we have towards our amazing team and every volunteer that helps us keep our families safe and headed in the right direction.
PRSG has been super busy this month with our summer programming. Camp Mahara was a huge success and a hit among the kiddos that attended. Kids aged 9-18 spent three full days at a horse rehabilitation farm and learned many new and wonderful skills such as teamwork, and how to be compassionate with horses and animals and caring for them. See the highlights section for more details.
The Beyond Reading program is up and running and so far, we have heard great things from the students and teachers alike. Our goal with this program is to help kids gain a new appreciation for reading which will culminate with a fun field trip. Thank you to our Community Classroom Coordinator, Megan French, for all her efforts to make this program a success.
The fun doesn’t end here. Camp Silah will start on the 20th of August, and we look forward to having an amazing time. Lastly, PRSG hosted a goods giveaway event and circus presented by Bellingham Circus Guild and Lookout Arts Quarry on August 3rd. We will share highlights of these two events on our website and in next month’s newsletter.
In addition, PRSG has started a fundraiser for our annual back-to-school drive. Due to lack of space and COVID, we have decided to raise funds that will be used to purchase items for school. Please donate by clicking on this link.
Lastly, for the first time, PRSG has started the hiring process for two new positions. We are currently interviewing for a full-time volunteer coordinator and soon will be interviewing for a full-time executive director. We have had some amazing candidates and look forward to seeing where this process takes us. Please continue to show your support by helping us fund even more positions that will help PRSG fulfill its mission and continue to grow by donating here today.
As always, thank you for your continued support!
COVID-19 News and Resources
Updates to County Risk Levels
As the Delta variant surges throughout the country and world, it is highly recommended that if you have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine that you do so as soon as possible. The Delta variant is just as dangerous as the Novel Corona Virus and even more contagious. The COVID-19 Delta variant now makes up over 20% of U.S. cases and is expected to become the dominant strain in the U.S. Studies have shown that vaccinated people are less likely to contract the Delta variant and that if they do, symptoms are far less severe. It is also recommended that if you have not taken the vaccine that you keep masks on at all times indoors, especially as so many kids are planning to return to school in person this fall.
Still haven’t taken the vaccine? If you are ready to, here is a great tool to help you find a vaccinator near you.
Multnomah County is offering visa gift cards to reduce financial barriers to getting a vaccine at its vaccine clinics. Click here for sites offering these incentives.
Rental Assistance and Moratorium
The new Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) sponsored by the federal government, is now open to qualified renters who have experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic and are at risk of homelessness or housing instability. Tenants may apply regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Approval of rental assistance will not impact eligibility for any benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid, Social Security or housing. The funds are NOT first come first serve and are prioritized based on need. To learn more and apply, CLICK HERE or email the COVID-19 EOC Affordable Housing Liaison at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor Kate Brown has signed Senate Bill 282 into law, a bill that extends the repayment period for residential rent accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill gives renters until February 28, 2022 to repay all rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Oregon’s residential eviction moratorium remains in effect through July 30, 2021. For other housing news, including new low-income housing options, visit the Oregon Housing Authority website here.
PRSG has decided to have its first in-person potluck event in September. More to come about location and time.
Camp Silah will be August 20th-23rd. All preparations have been made and we can’t wait to share all of the adventures we have with the kids
How You Can Help!
Thank you to all of our donors. Your generosity is what keeps us going. If you have fundraising ideas or would like to host a goods donation drive, we would love to hear from you. Send an email to email@example.com with your ideas. If you would like to make a monetary donation, please use Donations - PORTLAND REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP (pdxrsg.org).
We are on the lookout for dedicated volunteers to step up and take on the role of core volunteer. This is not an easy role, but it is incredibly rewarding. To learn more about how you can become a core volunteer, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Have you ever met someone with a smile that just lights up a room? If you haven’t, you are about to. We would like you to meet Guy Snyder. Guy joined PRSG in the spring of 2019 after conducting a web search and finding PRSG. Guy signed on as a core volunteer for an Iraqi family, consisting of a mother and her three children. Guy explains why he joined PRSG saying, “Almost all American families originally came here as immigrants, many as refugees. This has been a major factor in determining the character of this country. I believe it is also a major source of its strength. Unfortunately, groups of immigrants have historically been demonized when they first arrive, only later to be integrated into our culture. It must be difficult coming to a new land where the culture must seem so strange, in addition to being seen as ‘different’. Refugee families are now facing many of these same challenges, in addition to widespread disparagement in some aspects of our political culture. It is in reaction to these difficulties that I was inspired to join PRSG. I want to help out in ways that I hope my own ancestors may have been when they first arrived as refugees.”
Guy shares that he has certainly become more aware of the details of the difficulties immigrants face. He says there is nothing like getting to know someone to be able to understand more about their challenges and opportunities. On the flip side, he has come to recognize common values and desires that all people share. He has enjoyed getting to know the new people with whom he is working with, not only his clients, but others associated with PRSG. When he can provide significant assistance to his client family, Guy says that it is very satisfying. One of Guy’s goals is to help his client family reunite with the father and sibling who are currently residing in the Netherlands. He also says that a source of great satisfaction to him has been arranging for, and getting family members to, COVID vaccinations for those eligible. Finding decent housing has also been a special challenge for Guy’s family, especially in these times. They are now on the cusp of procuring better housing thanks to Guy’s efforts.
When he is not working on PRSG, Guy enjoys spending time with his wife Alice and his family. They have lived in Portland for the last 34 years. They are both retired architects, having had their own firm for 21 years. Guy does not have any children of his own but says that he is close to his two stepsons and five grandchildren who live in Idaho and Massachusetts. He jokingly makes the point that he was “skipping that messy, in-between part of being a parent.” Guy is the youngest of three brothers, with a niece and three nephews, most of whom live in California and Arizona. Guy is proud to share that he is Jewish, though of the secular variety. In addition to sharing his home with his human companions, he also lives with two adorable kitties.
Guy says that being retired means a fair amount of freedom. He loves to travel, though with COVID that has been severely limited. He has enjoyed working to improve his home and pursue his hobbies which include working with wood, including making furniture, musical instruments, and various other items. Guy shares that back in the 70’s, he was a “hippie craftsmen” making dulcimers in Ashland, and now he is able to continue in that vein. With all of Guy’s amazing skills and full life, he is also a drummer and has been since he was 10-years old. Currently, he plays timpani (kettle drums) with two community orchestras and a trap set with a Dixieland jazz band. Did we forget to mention that Guy also enjoys sailing and being on the water. What a full and wonderful life but that is not all. He still has his favorite things to do which include listening to and playing music, watching a sunset from a boat floating in a slough, baking, taking walks, getting together with good friends, and the open road.
When asked about how long he will remain with PRSG, Guy replied, “I don’t really know how long I will be with PRSG. I tend to take life as it comes and have never been one to formulate and stick to a plan. There are times of great stress to me, however, and perhaps there will come a time when it becomes too much.” We also asked Guy what he would change about PRSG and his experience as a volunteer. Guy says “I could wish not having to deal so much with bureaucracy. However, I realize that though it frustrates me, just think how much more difficult it would be for my client family. Also, I would like more engagement with others in the organization to learn from their experiences. There was some movement in this direction before the pandemic, but meaningful direct contact has, of necessity, had to be very limited.” We appreciate his honesty and sharing how demanding the role of core volunteer can be as well as how we can improve as an organization.
Highlights - Camp Mahara
Beginning on July 9th, 100 immigrant and refugee children took part in a three-day skill building camp focusing on building self-esteem and confidence by working with horses and completing other activities. The camp was a huge success and the children loved every minute of it. The goals of the camp were achieved thanks to the hard-working team that put it all together. A huge thank you to Dr. Omar Reda for creating such a wonderful program and to Bonnie and Walt of the Trillium Creek Training and Rehabilitation Coalition for hosting us.
Turkey – 83,614,362
One of the most beautiful and powerful countries in the world is also one of the most historically significant in terms of refugees throughout history. Turkey, a country that borders both Europe and Asia, has a long-standing history of welcoming refugees as one of the earliest resettlement regions in the world. In fact, the land on which most of Turkey lies, the Anatolian peninsula, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world.
As home to one of the most dominant empires in the history of the world, the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has a vast and rich history dating back as far as the Paleolithic Era. Artifacts dating back to this time include statues and stonework found throughout the Stone Age. The earliest traces of culture in Turkey can be dated back to the 1st millennium BC evidenced by artifacts including animal and human fossils found in many locations within the region.
There is also evidence that people from the Hattian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Hittites lived there during the Bronze Age. Following them, the Greeks entered the region and developed along the western coast leading to the Greek Aegean Civilization which ushered in a new era of culture, technology, and many more people settling into the region over the centuries. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the influence of the region was felt in Europe, Asia, and North Africa and people of all faiths prospered under their rule. Like all mighty empires, the Ottoman Empire fell but not after leaving behind a strong footprint that can still be felt today, especially with regards to culture, art, architecture, and religion.
Modern-day Turkey is currently a democratic state and relatively new in terms of industrialization. Turkey is a member of the United Nations, NATO, G20, and many more international organizations. Because of its strong economy, it is the 20th largest by GDP, Turkey is able to keep up with the increased demands the refugee crisis has put on the country. According to the UNHCR, Turkey has over 3.6 million Syrian refugees as well as over 320,000 refugees from other nationalities within its borders and has been one of the only countries to continuously welcome refugees. Culturally, modern day Turkey is diverse.
From contemporary cities to tiny mountain villages, Turkey is famous for its architecture, coffee, and hard-working people. Until today, Turks can be found living in the harsh Taurus Mountain range herding sheep the same way their ancestors did thousands of years ago preserving the ancient methods of farming, ranching, and homesteading. On the flipside, Turkey has a very modern city life heavily influenced by many cultures. Within the bustling cities, ancient buildings still stand as well as some of the most impressive architectural feats in history, including Haigia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Red Tower among many more. To learn more about Turkish architecture, click here.
In terms of food and clothing, most Turkish people dress in western style clothing. Traditional Turkish clothing is vibrant and elegant and slightly different among the seven different regions in Turkey. Most Turks, male and female, can be seen wearing a Salvar (pants) that are tightly gathered at the ankle. Women will wear a dress on top of the Salvar ranging in length from the knee to the ankle. Men will wear a loose-fitting shirt with a vest on top. Both men and women will also wear head coverings of different degrees and a belt which is used to hold money and weapons.
Switching to cuisine, some have argued that Turkish food is the best in the world as it has been influenced by flavors from Central Asia to Eastern Europe to the Mediterranean to the Middle East. Turkish food uses a wide variety of spices, meats, and vegetables that are sure to make even the pickiest of eaters smile. There is not enough space to even begin to describe the wonderful foods of Turkey but check out this link for some mouthwatering examples.
Website – www.pdxrsg.org
Information – Admin@pdxrsg.org
President – Nura@pdxrsg.org
Vice President – Jenny@pdxrsg.org
Treasurer – Eva@pdxrsg.org
Programming – Tahia@pdxrsg.org
Head of Refugee Affairs – Fatein@pdxrsg.org
Office Manager – Yasser@pdxrsg.org
Tutoring and Educational Services - Education@pdxrsg.org
Events – Social@pdxrsg.org
Goods Donations – Donations@pdxrsg.org
Office & Mailing Address - 10175 SW Barbur Blvd Suite102B, Portland, OR 97219
Our email list is a great way for you to stay up to date on important PRSG news. If you aren’t receiving emails from us and would like to in the future, please send an email to Yasser@pdxrsg.org or use our contact link on our website.
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