World Relief - Seattle

Innovator Track: Established Nonprofit

Fast Pitch 2020
Community Choice Award Runner Up

Meet the Speaker

Ashley Fisher

What inspires you most about the work you do?

I am most inspired by the individuals that we serve at World Relief. Every day I get to witness the strength, compassion, and resiliency of asylees and I am truly humbled to be a part of their journey in creating a new life here in the United States.

How can someone engage or get involved with your organization/mission?

We have multiple ways that people can get involved at World Relief. We are always looking for volunteers in our English and Job classes. One of the most unique ways to get involved is through our Cultural Companion program. This is a friendship program where volunteers are paired with a asylee or refugee and meet up three or four times a month to practice English, learn about each other’s culture and experiences, and explore the local community together. Volunteer host homes are also extremely vital to the work that we do. Host Homes provide a place for asylees and refugees to live while they wait for their new home in the United States to be ready.

Innovator COVID-19 Update

Even before this particular crisis, many of the individuals and families we work with were close to the edge of crisis. As newcomers to this country, the people we serve lack the supports that so many of us have: money in a savings account to stave-off panic, access to paid time off, reliable childcare options or a salaried job. The COVID-19 epidemic doesn’t cause these cracks in our system; it just exposes them.

Our participants are some of the most vulnerable impacted by the COVID19 situation. In response to the current health crisis, we have ramped up our services as more and more refugees and asylees seek our support. Our employment team has been working hard to help folks who have just lost their jobs to apply for unemployment, as well as helping to connect them to companies that are hiring at this time. The crushing reality however, is that many refugees and asylees have just started their first job in the US and have not worked at their company long enough to be eligible for unemployment. For these individuals, our case managers are working tirelessly to help them apply for food stamps and other financial support.

We are also continuing to work with asylees being released from the detention center in Tacoma. These services have become increasingly crucial as asylees are released from detention with absolutely nothing – particularly no housing options. We’ve assembled a rapid response team to provide safe housing for newly-released persons to ensure they can practice social distancing instead of seeking housing in shelters.

As we continue to ensure our participants received the best care during this crisis, we're in need of more financial resources to meet the rising demand for our services. We're in this together and are grateful for the community that has come alongside us in this time!

Learn more about World Relief

We are now witnessing the highest levels of human displacement on record. War, persecution and conflict have forced millions of people to leave their homes and begin an uncertain search for safety and the chance to live in peace.

Many of these displaced persons make an incredibly dangerous journey to the US border and ask for asylum – a petition to be protected by the US from persecution they face in their home country. While these petitions are processed, asylees are locked in detention centers for months, sometimes years. For those who are granted asylum, there is a profound lack of resources, including no financial support from the government for their resettlement. World Relief Seattle has developed one of our nation’s only comprehensive Asylee Resettlement Programs which provides in-depth services for new asylees. Through this program, asylees receive a caseworker who guides them through mounds of paperwork, medical insurance and attention, permanent housing, social security cards, work permits and employment assistance, English classes, transportation assistance and immigration legal services. Because of this program, asylees – who otherwise have nothing upon release from detention – are welcomed by, rooted in and empowered for community.

World Relief - Seattle 2018