When I run, I think a lot about the brave refugee men, women, and children I meet through my job as a social worker at Human Rights First. I think about the dangers they faced in their home countries, the perilous journey they made to seek asylum in the United States, and the struggles they face today. While I do my best to help them every day, there’s so much more that I wish I could do. That’s why I hope you’ll support me as I use my upcoming New York City Marathon run to raise much needed funding to assist refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

Since my first day at Human Rights First, I’ve had the privilege to meet and assist some of the hundreds of refugees who annually turn to our organization for assistance as they courageously navigate the United States’ complicated asylum system. For nearly four decades, Human Rights First has linked those fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries with pro bono attorneys who can help them secure U.S. protection. But over the years, we learned that representation alone is not enough. We wanted to do more, so we did.

Last year, Human Rights First established a Client Emergency Fund to assist refugees during the difficult time between arriving in the United States and receiving asylum. Many flee to the United States with little preparation, leaving behind financial stability and their existing social support systems. They are typically alone and lack access to necessities such as housing, food, shelter, clothing, and money for transportation to and from legal appointments.

To make matters worse, these refugees are not eligible for most government social safety net programs, and they do not receive work authorization until months, if not longer, after arriving in the United States. The Client Emergency Fund is administered by Human Rights First social workers like me and is an immediate lifeline for the men, women, and children we serve.

In recent months, the demand for our fund has been high, and a number of clients in New York City are facing serious crises. Every penny you donate to support my run will go directly into the Client Emergency Fund to make an immediate impact on the lives of the refugees Human Rights First serves. Whether it’s to cover housing or medical expenses or to buy a new pair of shoes for a refugee child going to school in the United States for the first time, your donations will tell those seeking asylum that they are welcome and they are valued here in the United States.

Please consider supporting my run on behalf of refugees. Click here to make your contribution to the Client Emergency Fund and send your message of hope to those seeking our protection.


Published on August 1, 2016


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