Grateful for 2022

Megan Barnes December Thought Leader

A large part of my role as Resettlement Coordinator is pre-arrival logistics. Before an individual or family is even booked to fly to Georgia, I oversee and manage their biographical information, medical information, and general family makeup. My job was turned upside down last year with the influx of arrivals, particularly from Afghanistan and Ukraine. Sometimes I would receive flight information for a family arriving the next day and often times we would have upwards of 40 families arrive in just one week.

When people step off the plane, with just a suitcase or a few belongings, they are in need of so many things. We do our best to provide them with resources and work diligently to help with housing, transportation, health care and other basic necessities. This past year, we have been fortunate as there has been a tremendous amount of support from the community, including individuals, small businesses and large corporations, community and faith based groups, and other kinds of civic and non profit organizations.

Airbnb has been a strong partner amongst a housing availability crisis, providing grants to help obtain temporary housing for new arrivals. CARE has also been a tremendous and invaluable partner to New American Pathways this year, especially after Afghans began arriving. Their extraordinarily generous donation of over $100,000 came in the form of pre-loaded cash cards that we distributed to Afghans and other refugees who who have arrived over the past twelve months  These clients have been so appreciative of these extra funds, using them to pay bills and buy other necessities for their families. These cash cards have been critical to aid the families we have resettled, and we can’t thank CARE enough for their support.

As we close out one of the busiest year New American Pathways has ever had, it’s important to recognize we wouldn’t be here without the individuals and organizations who have donated time, money, and materials to help us as we resettled a record number of new arrivals. People have opened their homes and rental properties to house families, volunteered to teach English, donated money, hygiene items, blankets, baby items and so much more. It’s also important to acknowledge my co-workers on the Resettlement Team. I’m so grateful to learn from them and work with them every day to help resettle refugees as they come to Georgia. Being a small part of putting some good into the world with these magnificent people is an exceptional experience. Thank you to everyone for making this year the best one yet!