Community Sponsorship Hub, Refugee Welcome Collective, Welcome.US Launch Sponsorship Training to Help More Americans Welcome Refugees

New online tool for community sponsorship programs will create opportunities for sponsoring newcomers through a streamlined, interactive, user-friendly way.

New York, New York – On August 22, the Community Sponsorship Hub, Refugee Welcome Collective, and Welcome.US will co-launch a new training tool for community sponsorship programs to provide greater access to information for those welcoming refugees through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and other newcomers. Called Community Sponsorship Essentials, this online tool was developed in response to a clear need for a comprehensive, foundation-setting program that could be utilized by all organizations managing community sponsorship programs.

Community sponsorship is a volunteer opportunity for Americans who want to help welcome refugees and other newcomers into their communities. Sponsor groups work together with families and individuals to provide practical support to access services, learn English, and adapt to a new culture. Sponsor groups can work independently through the Sponsor Circle Program or by partnering with one of nine national resettlement agencies that operate through more than 270 local resettlement agencies across the country.

“Welcome.US was created after the fall of Kabul to tap into Americans’ tremendous capacity and desire to help welcome newcomers. We are proud to have worked with technical experts in refugee resettlement and experts in the field of interactive, engaging, online training programs to design a user-friendly, streamlined training that will make it easier for many more Americans to learn how to serve as a sponsor. We hope that as a result, many more Americans will be inspired to take on this essential, and deeply fulfilling, welcoming work. Newcomers need many things to help rebuild their lives in a new community, but what they need most is a sense of belonging and inclusion–that’s what sponsors provide. They are a friend, a guide, and a new social network when newcomers have had to leave all of theirs behind.” said Nazanin Ash, CEO of Welcome.US.

This baseline training was designed to assist community sponsorship program staff in providing comprehensive training to new community sponsors, lighten the workload for program management, create greater awareness of and increase engagement with community sponsorship, and reinforce best practices. The training was funded by the U.S. Department of State and Shapiro Foundation and the curriculum design process led by Kaveh Sadeghian and Alexandra Ostrow of Blacksmith Institute, a learning design consultancy specializing in leadership education and purpose-driven curriculum development.

“This first-of-its kind training will support community sponsorship staff build and sustain strong community sponsorship programs across the country. A project of Church World Service, the Refugee Welcome Collective is proud to have provided leadership and technical expertise in developing the training and coordinating input and review from community sponsorship staff from across national and local resettlement agencies. Input from professionals leading community sponsorship programs is critical for the success of the training and the Refugee Welcome Collective is tremendously grateful for the community sponsorship leaders from across resettlement agencies that dedicated their time and expertise to ensure content meets the needs of a wide range of community sponsorship programs. ” said Jessica Chapman, Director for Community Sponsorship Technical Assistance, Refugee Welcome Collective.

During the training, sponsors will receive a broad overview of the history of refugee resettlement in the United States, key mindsets for sponsors, different roles and responsibilities that fall under community sponsorship, key terminology and policies, and examples of best practices. The training is primarily self-paced and independent, with opportunities for group discussion, and is designed to be completed with guidance from a community sponsorship program.

“Community Sponsorship Hub is proud to have played a critical role in developing this training. This training will provide a critical resource to any partner or organization interested in launching a community sponsorship program and will help increase access to this opportunity and make it easy for any community or American interested in welcoming refugees and other newcomers to get involved,” said Sarah Krause, Executive Director of Community Sponsorship Hub.

The training is hosted on the e-learning platform Coassemble. It can be accessed through a mobile app as well as by internet browser. The training can be accessed from the following partner websites:

Upcoming onboarding sessions will soon be announced for interested program staff, and other tools and resources will be made available to provide further guidance for staff. There will also be opportunities to engage with other program staff using this training across the US.

The Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH) is dedicated to growing the role of communities in the protection, resettlement, and integration of refugees and other forcibly displaced people. Mobilizing civil society, and the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, and empowering them with resources and access, CSH shapes and coordinates a community sponsorship (CS) system that leverages the power of welcoming Americans. With the support of a growing coalition of partners, the CSH oversees the Sponsor Circle Program – a community-led resettlement initiative that supports everyday Americans in taking on the responsibility of welcoming Afghan and Ukrainian newcomers to their communities. Through the program, hundreds of newcomers have been welcomed into communities across the country. This program provides critical support in ensuring that newcomers receive welcome and support. Since the program’s launch, more than 2,000 Americans have formed Sponsor Circles across the country.

The Refugee Welcome Collective is a community sponsorship (CS) technical assistance (TA) and training provider funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to improve outcomes for refugees resettled through the U.S. Refugee Admissions program by building capacity and expanding community sponsorship. The Refugee Welcome Collective collaborates with partners to provide in-depth training programs, weekly learning sessions, learning resources, and on-demand technical assistance for sponsors, community sponsorship staff, refugees paired with sponsors, and community and institutional partners across the United States. RWC training, Technical Assistance, learning sessions, and resources are designed based on input from national and local resettlement agencies, sponsors, and refugees paired with sponsors.

At Welcome.US, our mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of Americans to welcome newcomers and help them thrive. We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. We are not an advocacy organization or an operational agency providing direct services to newcomers. By making it easier for Americans from all walks of life to participate in the work of welcoming – and telling their stories – we are building a movement that celebrates America’s welcoming spirit by providing an opportunity to serve for all who seek to welcome. Our diverse community of Welcomers reaches across real and perceived divides to meet the needs of newcomers more effectively. In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, Afghan American organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, four former Presidents and four former First Ladies, Welcome.US is the single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support those who are starting new lives in the United States.