2017 was a big year for the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection, an organization dedicated to helping improve the lives of immigrants and refugees in Cache Valley.
One of the biggest advancements for the non-profit organization is it now has a full-time employee and an office space in Logan.
Nelda Ault Dyslin, co-founder of CRIC, says this gives her organization the opportunity to increase fundraising and awareness.
“Everything we’ve done up until now has been just by the good graces of people donating $20 over the course of five years,” she said. “Like, our main donors are these ones that, they’ll just show up and [pay] us after a payday. That’s how we’ve been able to get an office and pay our rent and pay for an employee.”
In retrospect, Dyslin is most excited about the community garden. The garden opened last summer and is on about an acre of private land near Logan High School. It was donated by the property owner who also handles the water shares.
Dyslin has been working with refugees for over seven years and says people always ask her how they can help.
“People just need more American friends," she said. "Where, you know, someone needs to change their job. And sure we can sit down and go through every online website about finding a job but isn’t it better to just know more people? So people can say, ‘Oh yeah, this other place is hiring. Let me get you an application.’”
CRIC will unveil a new pilot program called Neighbor Program where a volunteer refugee family and a volunteer family from the community will be matched through an interview process.
"We’ll do a match and then say, Ok, we’ll get together and kind of customize what you would like this relationship to be like," Dyslin said. "Is everyone good? Except maybe the mom needs someone at home to practice English with, or something like that. Or maybe there’s another family who needs a lot of help getting kids to a doctor’s appointment. Can you be the emergency contact for the school? Things like that – we want to facilitate relationships like that.”
Dyslin says strengthening a refugee’s American network can really help them progress in society.