Sponsorship is critical for people forced to flee Ukraine
Help change someone’s life. And your own. You don’t have to know a Ukrainian to be a sponsor.
Make it a group effort. Gather your friends and family to form a support system for newcomers.
Safety is a top priority. Both sponsors and newcomers are vetted by the U.S. government.
Be a neighbor.
Sponsorship is the ultimate neighborly act. Sponsors provide day-to-day support to make sure Ukrainian newcomers are welcomed in their new communities and have the information and tools they need to start a new life in the United States.
Think about the type of support you’d need if you moved to a new country where you didn't know anyone, where the culture is new to you, and where the language might be a challenge.
What acts of welcome would make it easier for you to settle into your new community?
Be a guide.
Sponsors serve as a guide to life in the United States and to their city or town.
- Sponsors meet newcomers at the airport.
- They help newcomers find permanent housing and move in.
- They help newcomers find furniture and other goods needed to set up a new home.
- They make sure children are enrolled in a local school and that the family is connected to a healthcare provider, including through enrollment in a health insurance plan.
- They help parents apply for jobs.
- They make sure they know where to shop for groceries, how to take public transportation, and where to find community resources like English language classes and the best places to spend a weekend afternoon.
More than anything, they make sure that newcomers feel at home by being the friend they can rely on when they have questions, and the person who will make them feel at home and included in their new community.
Be a teammate.
While not required, welcoming through sponsorship can be strengthened by working together with a group – be it with friends, work colleagues, congregation members or other networks.
There are lots of reasons to think about getting friends and family to help - it makes the work easier, can be deeply rewarding and helps the arriving family know more people in the community. Plus, with a group effort, you can share in the joy and responsibilities of helping newcomers thrive in their new communities. Sponsorship carries with it some basic financial responsibilities, and while there is no specifically required amount, you and your group should plan to raise at least $3000 for each person sponsored to help the family you are supporting get settled in the first 90 days after their arrival in the United States.
Remember, as a sponsor, you're responsible for ensuring that newcomers have what they need to rebuild their lives and thrive here in the United States, without relying on public benefits for the long-term. Remarkably, most working-age refugees are self-sufficient within six months of arriving in their new communities.
Be a friend.
The war in Ukraine has displaced more than 10 million people, including more than four million children. No one should have to live through that experience, but for millions of Ukrainians, it is now a turning point in their lives.
The people fleeing the war in Ukraine are our future neighbors, and they come from all walks of life. Some will come with their children or parents, and some will seek refuge on their own. American communities will benefit enormously from their expertise, experience, and courage.
But first they need your friendship and support.
One of the most important things a sponsor can do is be a good friend to a newcomer as they navigate the challenges of being displaced and starting a new life in safety.
Providing emotional support and being a friend that a newcomer can rely on during a difficult period in their life is one of the most rewarding aspects of sponsorship.
The bonds formed between sponsors and newcomers often grow into lifelong friendships – and everyone benefits along the way!
Be a cheerleader.
As a sponsor, you are a bridge-builder, an ambassador of welcome, a friendly neighbor, and a tour guide to life in the United States. But your ultimate goal is to work yourself out of the role of sponsor and into the role of cheerleader – you want to empower and support newcomers instead of doing everything for them.
By seeing your role as a partner to the family, rather than the all-too-common mentality of “adopting” a family, you will help set them on a path to independence and successful integration. Just as you would with a friend or loved one, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure newcomers are equipped with the tools and skills to be resilient and succeed.
Be a Welcomer.
Sponsorship can be a wonderful, joyful, transformative experience – not only for the newcomers you welcome but also for you, the Welcomer.
Our national and local partners are preparing to support a nation of welcomers just like you to offer safety, sanctuary and new opportunities to those fleeing the war in Ukraine and coming to the United States. These organizations will offer information, encouragement and support to help you be a good sponsor so that you can offer the same to the family you sponsor.
Sign up to receive more details soon. Sponsoring Ukrainians is a new opportunity and many organizations are expanding their programs now to take on this new mission. We will share information about organizations in your community that are supporting sponsors as soon as that information is available.
Be a WelcomerReady to sponsor? Need more information? Sign up now to get more information about sponsorship and be matched with a Ukrainian seeking refuge when the opportunity becomes available.