Name of Nonprofit Organization: Catholic Social Services: Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services Program
Name: Amanda Moser
Short Project Description (50 words): We are seeking funds to purchase items to be used in weekly cooking classes offered to refugee clients aimed at improving nutrition, and enhancing their integration into the community as well as improving their employability skills. Items needed include: Pots, pans, mixers, measuring spoons, utensils & cookbooks for all participants.
The Big Why (300 words):
Catholic Social Services Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services (RAIS) provides a bridge for refugees (individuals who have had to flee their countries of origin due to the tragedies of persecution, natural disaster, and war) from their former life experiences to the new skills required for success in the United States.
Every year, as the state refugee resettlement agency, RAIS resettles approximately 120 refugees from countries all over the world.
During FY 2016:
• 89% of all employable adults engaged in the program were gainfully employed
• 92% of these retained their initial employment for more than 3 months.
• 79% of the refugee families served no longer relied on public assistance after 1 year in Alaska.
By providing comprehensive, culturally sensitive case management to assist our clients in learning about the U.S., RAIS seeks to encourage self-sufficiency through early employment.
In the past year, the RAIS program has worked to expand training in specific job skills to better support new refugees. One particular program within that effort is weekly cooking classes. These classes serve multiple purposes. First, they are a place to come together and gather around food, which is an important part of many cultures around the world, including here in Anchorage. As a part of these classes, an emphasis on basic nutrition and use of local products is demonstrated and discussed. Additionally, the class uses some commercial grade products and appliances, in order to increase English vocabulary and experience. This will also increase the employability of our refugee clients.
The creation of these classes came about after speaking with employer partners who often support new refugees with jobs. We received feedback from employers that one thing that RAIS can do to help them better prepare for employment is “mock restaurant kitchen experience” and teach vocabulary of kitchen supplies such as different types of baking sheets or prep pans. These classes will serve that purpose.
The Bottom Line (Budget summary and what they’re asking for):
$1000 for utensils and cooking supplies
$300 for books and teaching materials
$500 for food items to be used in class