LexRAP Volunteers September 30, 2023
LexRAP is a 100% volunteer organization. Our volunteers are the lifeblood and foundation of all that we do. On September 30, the large and growing universe of LexRAP volunteers was formally appreciated at a gathering organized by the LexRAP committee on outreach and community building.
About 35 of our 90 volunteers gathered at the Church of our Redeemer, who graciously donated one of their halls and custodial help that Saturday afternoon. There was mixing, refreshments, laughter, and networking.
Capping the event were two presentations.
Bruce Neumann, LexRAP’s new president, spoke on the important roles that volunteers play in the lives of the immigrants with whom we partner. Practical help with driving, linking to resources, advising on jobs and education, sharing food, and so much more, is a good part of it. But, Bruce emphasized, an equally vital activity is the bonding and friendship, and the implied deep recognition of personhood and value, that a volunteer may offer to people who have often fled their homes and countries, leaving loved ones, culture, and professions behind.
Meher then spoke. Her family arrived in Massachusetts in April 2022, after being evacuated from Kabul in August, 2021 and spending 7 months in limbo, waiting for immigration paperwork and procedures in Albania. Meher is the matriarch of a family of 10, including an elderly grandmother, 4 school-aged children, herself, her husband, and several sisters in law. She talked about her profound apprehension, arriving in Medford at her final destination, knowing that she had no family and no friends in the US. She described the relief and gratitude she felt when she encountered a prepared house (courtesy of the UU church in Medford Square), a welcome meal, became the friends and family she needed.
For more information about volunteering with LexRAP in a way that is best for you, please click here to send an email to Mary Diaz, our Volunteer Coordinator.