Part of Foothills’ Justice work, Sanctuary Everywhere, accompanies asylum seekers as they begin their lives here in Fort Collins. Now, six months into our newest and largest Village, we continue to serve and to learn. (See Rev. Gretchen’s update on the first six months of Sanctuary Everywhere in 2021.)
The pattern of accompanying such a large Family of 17 asylum seekers seems to follow our more familiar pattern of accompanying an individual. The first months demand immense energy, time, flexibility and problem-solving, as well as the ability to anticipate future needs – all while juggling all the rest! All the while Village members learn – learn more about each family member, learn about issues we have not dealt with before (in this Village, it’s the complexities and challenges in the legal universe; always it is the effects of trauma), learn more about local resources we can access, and more about ourselves as individuals and as a team.
Since Rev Gretchen’s July Sanctuary Everywhere update, both remaining family members still held in detention have been released, one to join his partner here, and the other to join her younger siblings. Family reunions are just the best!
We continue to transport and –to varying degrees–facilitate appointments for medical, dental, mental health care, and Covid vaccinations (a moving target for 13 people plus new immigrants joining the household!!!) as well as to various appointments with ICE and lawyers and court. Additionally, there are appointments with teachers, English classes and tutoring, and help getting to Food Bank… Phew!
As we learn about and connect with local resources, our goal is always to teach and encourage family members to take such actions for themselves. As with any group, some learn and adapt more quickly, and others continue to require continuing support. Consequently, the number of Family members we are actively accompanying is shrinking, allowing the Core team to consider our next Village