We Share Our World

30 Years of Living, Learning, and Growing Together

common ground

common ground


What does volunteering mean for me and the refugees?

A few months ago I was talking with someone who has known me throughout my three-and-a-half years of volunteering with VRRP. She has watched how the early, all-consuming work with refugees has changed and become an integral and rich part of my life, and she knows how much I enjoy my relationships with my Somali Bantu friends. In this conversation she was questioning me on my motivation for continuing to seek out, collect, and deliver donations of children's clothing to families. "Isn't this just a big ego trip?" she asked. "You show up with a bunch of clothes for the kids and everybody loves you. You're like Santa Claus."

I didn't have to think long to answer. Of course doing this makes me feel great! I put in long hours getting clothes donated, sorting them by size and gender, and delivering them to families who need them. I put together a bag of newborn clothes and blankets for each new baby that is born. Delivering the clothes is really fun and very satisfying. The kids look great in the new clothes, the parents are relieved and happy, and I feel useful. I get to visit new parents and hold newborn babies. Do I enjoy having people feel glad to see me? Absolutely. And I don’t see what can be wrong with this.

The clothing distribution part of my volunteer activity began three-and-a-half years ago when my first Somali Bantu family arrived from Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. I collected donations of clothing for the family of eight, but so much came in that I had a lot left over. So I began distributing it to others who arrived with very little. I enjoyed it. I got to meet the new families as they arrived, and bringing them something they really needed bridged our initial shy awkwardness.

Read Volunteer Lauren Berrizbeitia's full account of her experiencing helping refugees.

Learn how you can become a VRRP volunteer.

New Volunteer Orientations in Jan., 2011 
All are welcome!!!
NOTE:  You DO NOT have to speak a foreign language to volunteer!!!

  • Wednesday, Jan.19 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m.

Attendance:  Required for all new volunteers
RSVP:  Not Required
Time Commitment:  1 hour+
Location: VRRP
              462 Hegeman Avenue
              (in Fort Ethan Allen)
              Colchester, VT 05446
For more information and directions 
Laurie Stavrand,
Community Partnership Coordinator  lstavrand@uscrivt.org or
(802) 338-4627

VRRP 30th Anniversary Celebration We Share Our World
Date: Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 
11 a.m.-3 p.m.:
Family Time/Fun and Games
Admission:  FREE (Donations welcome)

6 p.m.-9 p.m.:
Community Gathering/Dinner
Tickets: $30 (in advance)

1 Main Street: Train Station
Burlington, VT
For more information and tickets contact:  Laurie Stavrand
Community Partnership Coordinator
(802) 338-4627 or lstavrand@uscrivt.org

Three New Vermonter Discuss Discrimination
Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 at 12 p.m.
Vermont History Center
60 Washington Street
Barre, VT
(802) 479-8500
Admission: FREE

Three New Vermonter Discuss Discrimination
Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 at 7 p.m.
We Share Our World Exhibit
Monday, Jan. 17-Friday, Feb. 26, 2011
Location: Vermont Historical Society Museum, Pavilion building
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT
(802) 828-2291
Admission: FREE

We Share Our World Exhibit
Saturday, Jan. 22-Friday, Apr. 1, 2011
Location: Community College of Vermont
1 Abenaki Way
Winooski, VT
CCV (802) 654-0505
Admission: FREE (Donations welcome)

VRRP January Volunteers' Potluck
Focus on English Language Learning
Presentation by Melissa Lang of VRRP
English language teachers will be there!
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m.
RSVP: Appreciated but not required
Food to bring:  Keep it simple!
Time Commitment:  Come when you can!
Location: VRRP

New Voices
A film by "New Women of Vermont"
Film Screening and Reception
Friday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.
Location: Community College of Vermont
1 Abenaki Way
Winooski, VT
CCV (802) 654-0505
Admission: FREE (Donations welcome)


Services for Refugees and Immigrants:

Case Management

Employment Assistance

Volunteer and Donations Program

Photos courtesy Rose McNulty

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