I had the opportunity to work with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of two resettlement agencies in Boise, ID. My primary role was to work with the cash assistance programs which help refugees with settlement costs, rent assistance and pocket money. Their money is loaded on the Akimbo Debit Card. My job was to create tutorials on how to use the debit card in ATM machines, for shopping in stores, and how to check their balance on the card. I made a couple videos for visual instruction and several handouts with step-by-step pictures then translated the information to several languages of clients arriving this summer. This was rewarding work and I was able to help navigate this system. I also attended many cultural orientation sessions, Job readiness classes and financial literacy classes where I was able to help put apps on clients’ phones. I enjoyed being around so many different languages and cultures!
I started the week of World Refugee Day and was able to participate in tabling at the event on the Grove in downtown Boise. This was a great way to meet employees from IRC and several refugee families that came to the event. There was a citizenship ceremony where an IRC employee was sworn in.
I’ll be able to use this summer experience in my Social Studies classes this Fall by creating lessons surrounding Refugees and comparing them to Asylum seekers. I can tell the story of the journey from refugee camps to resettlement and eventual citizenship.
I plan to continue to volunteer on a regular basis to help refugees settle and become familiar to life in the Boise area.