Social Services News
Switchboard's New Blog Series
New Blog Series: Refugees and Asylees Have the Right to Work
Busting Three Myths about Social Security Delays & Work Authorization
by Daniel Wilkinson
Service providers and clients around the nation continue to experience disruptions to early employment due to the impact of COVID-19. One important challenge has been the delay of documents often used to prove work authorization, particularly social security cards. This situation has brought to light several misconceptions commonly held by both employers and service providers regarding work authorization. In this blog post, we’ll bust some common myths regarding work authorization and social security numbers and cards and share some key resources and learning opportunities.
Read more >>
Overcoming Two Key Challenges when Communicating with Employers about Work Authorization
by Daniel Wilkinson
Service providers often encounter difficulties when communicating with employers about work authorization. This post provides tips on overcoming two common challenges when employers request specific documents from refugees and asylees as they complete the I-9.
Read more >>
"Collaboration, pilot program could expand the Center for Victims of Torture’s work in MN"
An article at the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Session Daily, “Collaboration, pilot program could expand the Center for Victims of Torture’s work in MN,” quotes CVT’s Peter Dross, director of external relations, and Alison Beckman, senior clinician for external relations, and describes legislation in progress which would “launch a collaboration between the center and Department of Human Services.” A video of the proceedings is also posted to YouTube via MN House Info. Peter begins to speak at about 8:00 and Alison at about 9:41. **An update: The legislation advanced in the Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee.
Eric Schwartz, CVT board member and president of Refugees International, is quoted in an article at Roll Call, “Lawmakers from both parties resist humanitarian and refugee aid changes.”
Community Gardening in Torture Treatment
Many torture survivor rehabilitation centers in the U.S. strive to recreate a home-like atmosphere for clients – from hanging indigenous textiles on the walls to displaying small handicrafts from around the world. And since many survivors come from cultures where they were deeply connected to the soil, creating community gardens seemed like a natural extension of this home-away-from-home philosophy.
The Majorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture in Chicago uses its community garden as a form of occupational therapy. They have found that client-directed projects are more sustainable, so they created an international cooking group. Every other Friday, survivors gather ingredients from a community garden nearby to create a menu based on traditional foods from survivors’ home countries. Then they make the meal from scratch. “When we sit down to eat, the cook talks about the food, culture and mealtime traditions in their home country,” said Mary Black, the Occupational Therapist who runs the group. “People might dance, sing. It’s very rich. There’s a lot of joy expressed there – and pride.”
At the Center for Victims of Torture in Minnesota, volunteers maintain a healing garden, which symbolizes the mission of hope, healing, and renewal. Plants, like people, go through cycles that present changes, and the garden offers the opportunity for survivors to relax, think, pray or to simply be still.Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma, staff worked with clients to design a healing garden as well, where as one client said someone can, “lie down, stretch out their arms, and look at the sky." Client volunteers maintained the garden, which hosted events like a client-led drumming circle, a community welcoming party and a chi qong class for staff. Clients often wrote in the garden journal, and one client eloquently stated, “Le jardin de l’ASTT exprime une nature particulière, la joie de l’existence même. Les chutes et le bruit de l’eau de la source exprimé un esprit de continuité, de ne jamais s’arreter ou d’être découragé dans la vie.” (English translation): “The ASTT garden expresses a special nature, the joy of existence itself. The cascades and sound of the water-source express a spirit of continuity, of never stopping or being discouraged in life.”
The International Rescue Committee’s Center for Well-Being in Tuscon, runs a therapeutic gardening group for Bhutanese survivors. “One of the hallmarks of being a torture survivor is a feeling of isolation — that you’re the only one,” said Aaron Grigg, interim Executive Director. “All of them have a background in agriculture, and it’s a way for them to get back to their roots.”
Social services resources by type
Webinars | Publications | Links | Videos | News