Stephen recounts the first time he met Abwe, which was at XNA, moments after Abwe's family of 8 stepped off the plane in Northwest Arkansas from a refugee camp in Tanzania. Stephen's co-sponsor group had been eagerly anticipating this family's arrival, and now after completing mentor training with Canopy NWA and weeks of preparation setting up the family's apartment, they now stood with signs and smiles ready to welcome this family to their new home.
As Abwe's family crossed over the exit threshold and out of the terminal, Stephen's family and other families from his church group began introducing themselves, hugging the family, and calling out greetings of welcome. In the happy chaos of this long awaited meeting, Stephen and Abwe came face to face. Abwe, in his kind, but direct manner asked, "And who are you?". Stephen responded, "I am your friend."
This is Northwest Arkansas. This is welcoming refugees home. Friends, our community is doing it beautifully in a variety of ways. Some have committed to long-term mentorship, or co-sponsorship, of refugee families. Others of you drive Canopy's refugee clients to doctor's appointments, and others of you employ them in your businesses. Arkansans all across our region are meeting the needs of our clients, and walking with them through the challenges they face as newcomers resettling here in the United States.
If you'd like to join Canopy NWA in helping provide a safe place for refugees to call home, you can! Go to www.canopynwa.org/donate
Update: Canopy is hiring! Canopy is looking for an Administrative Support Staff person who will oversee the smooth operation of the Canopy NWA office. Resume and cover letter should be be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.