Dear friend of IINE:
I want to update you on all the International Institute program team has been doing during the COVID-19 emergency. I have served alongside IINE colleagues and led program teams for over a decade, and know IINE’s dedication to immigrant families and communities on a normal day is stellar— these past weeks it’s been breathtaking.
We have not let the health crisis, or the temporary suspension of our on-site services, deter us from continuing to support to our immigrant and refugee neighbors . Our team has been working hard – and creatively – to keep connections alive, while adhering to physical distancing guidelines.
Outreach and Communications : In the past two weeks, we have stayed in touch with our clients. In addition to mass communiques via emails and text, our teams have sent 175 individual emails and text messages to our clients; we have provided 65 in-person case management and legal services to clients; and we have conducted 1,199 appointments by video and phone conference .
Critical Case Management : During this unprecedented time, IINE is responding to the specific needs of our clients. We are continuing to provide many of our program activities remotely, and have developed enhanced programming to better respond to the evolving situation. Since March 13, we have delivered:
- 344 instances of emergency education support, provided to both adults and children;
- 41 instances of emergency employment support;
- 35 instances of emergency support in accessing food and other basic needs;
- 27 instances of emergency housing support;
- 17 instances of emergency medical support;
- 55 instances of accessing emergency public benefits;
- 25 instances of remote youth mentoring; and
- 435 “wellness checks” conducted because of the pandemic.
But the numbers don’t tell you the whole story.
- Our education team has moved our English Language courses on-line, and has made sure that our clients have access to technology by lending computers where needed, and by connecting our clients to tech resources (through school districts and like-minded community partners);
- Our caseworkers in Lowell connected with each of our families to make sure kids could keep learning; they tracked down learning packets and classwork by grade, and have been sending out individualized texts to each household with links to assignments and other educational resources;
- Our Suitcase Stories® program expanded into a robust online platform featuring a range of interactive experiences aimed at bringing diverse voices into meaningful conversations;
- Our CEO, Jeff Thielman, went to Logan airport last week to greet Massachusetts’ last refugee family to arrive before the temporary suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. If you’d like to hear more about this emotional arrival, click here to listen to the story that appeared on WBUR.
I am so proud of everything the IINE team has done these two last weeks, and I am heartened to see how our community continues to provide us with all manner of generous support.
In the days ahead, I hope the International Institute, and its new American clients, can continue to count on you to stand with us .
In solidarity and with my warmest regards,
Chief Program Officer