Biden Administration Invites Ordinary Americans to Help Settle Refugees
Miriam Jordan - The New York Times
This is an excerpt from The New York Times article that was published on January 19th, 2023
Mary Brooks, a wealth manager in California, learned about the opportunity to sponsor a family on social media in September 2021, a month after the United States’ pullout from Afghanistan. Before she knew it, Ms. Brooks and her husband, Peter, had formed a sponsor circle with other members of their community in Walnut Creek, raised the requisite money and received training about their responsibilities as well as insight into coping with cultural differences and trauma.
They were paired up with an Afghan family, Abrahim and Fakhria Amirzad and their four children, who arrived in Walnut Creek on Dec. 30.
The sponsors secured temporary housing for the Amirzads, got the children vaccinated and enrolled in school and gave the couple driving lessons. A community member donated a minivan to accommodate the large family, which has since grown to five children.
Ms. Brooks marveled at how quickly the family had acclimated: The couple’s oldest child, Bibi Ayesha, 11, has joined the Girl Scouts. Mr. Amirzad, a nurse at a U.S. military hospital in Kabul, is taking a phlebotomy course, the first step toward achieving his goal of returning to his profession.
“We have received so much more than we gave,” said Ms. Brooks, 68, noting that the 90-day commitment had extended to more than a year because of the deep bond that formed between the family and her group.
Mary Brooks, right, a wealth manager in California, learned about the opportunity to sponsor a family on social media in September 2021, a month after the United States’ pullout from Afghanistan. Rachel Bujalski for The New York Times
“The sponsor circle has been by our side every step of the way,” Abrahim Amirzad said. “Anything we needed, day or night, we knew that there were people to call and help us.” Rachel Bujalski for The New York Times