EventsNext meeting TBA
November 20, 2018
For Immediate Release
November 14, 2018
Contacts: David Sullivan – (908) 441-6170
Marie Pfeifer – (201) 910-4250
PO Box 1544, Morristown, NJ 07960
Refugee Assistance Morris Partners Welcomes Third Family
The approaching Thanksgiving holiday reminds us of what we are thankful for. Refugee Assistance Morris Partners (RAMP), a volunteer organization, is grateful that over the past two years it has had the resources to save the lives of eleven Middle Eastern refugees, and also a new baby, who is expected in November.
“We are inspired by the stories of these brave people escaping from war zones to lives of safety in the United States, and it is heart-warming to see them apply their immigrant energy to build solid, productive lives in their new country,” said Gerry Gannon, RAMP convener.
On September 27, RAMP welcomed a new family from Afghanistan. The fresh arrivals are husband and wife who are expecting a child in late November. Many RAMP volunteers helped spruce up the family’s new apartment with furniture, household items and clothing. The newcomers have already bonded with RAMP’s second family, the Muniris, also from Afghanistan.
When a new family arrives, they meet with Church World Service in Jersey City to learn about their rights, employment opportunities and budgeting. RAMP volunteers are now helping out with health and social services and English language tutoring for the Afghan wife, who is a college graduate. The husband arrived fluent in English.
RAMP’s first family, the Tarakjis, who arrived in 2016, have self-sufficiency in sight. Beginning in November, they will assume responsibility for their rent and most of their utilities.
The Muniris have moved into self-sufficiency. The father has a good job, and has passed a boiler operator-licensing test.
RAMP extends its gratitude to its volunteers and the faith institutions who support its mission: Brookside Community Church/United Church of Christ, Church of Latter Day Saints, Morristown; Church of the Messiah, Chester; Grace Episcopal Church, Madison; Holy Family Church, Florham Park; Islamic Center of Basking Ridge, Islamic Center of Morris County, Islamic Center of Rockway, Interfaith Women of Rockaway, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, The Presbyterian Church, Madison; The Presbyterian Church, Morristown; St. Matthew the Apostle, Randolph; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Morris Plains; St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morristown; St. Vincent Martyr Church, Madison; Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station; Friends Meeting House, Randolph; Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community, and Voice of the Faithful NJ.
Although refugee intake has slowed, RAMP continues to assist vetted Middle Eastern and other refugee families transition to productive lives of dignity, safety and hope in the Morris County area. To learn more about RAMP or to volunteer or donate, please visit RAMP’s website at www.rampnj.org.
October 23, 2018
Arrival of the Third Family from Afghanistan
We met the third family, husband and wife, at Newark Airport on Thursday, September 27. They were a delight to meet. Since they are expecting their first child in late November, Ann Griswold, the health advisor for the family, had brief conversation with them to assure that she was feeling well and the baby was doing fine. They were.
Since their apartment was not yet available we brought them to Joan Belz home, who hosted them for about a week. There we met our 2nd family, who were preparing their first meal. It was nice to see the two Afghan couples bond immediately. The husband’s English is excellent, but the wife’s is very limited so the two Afghan women were able to have a long conversation and I was glad that may have helped her feel more welcomed.
On Wednesday, October 3 we were able to move them into their apartment. They seemed pleased with it and I want to thank the many volunteers who helped get everything ready. Mary Aktay had prepared a welcoming meal that was waiting in the refrigerator, and only needed to be warmed up. The community seems to be a good location. There are many shops and services within walking distance and they do seem to enjoy long walks.
While they have been settling in to their new environment, our social and health service teams have been busy with them. We are still waiting for their social security and green cards to arrive, but the application was begun in Afghanistan. We are expecting them to be mailed to Church World Services and then delivered to the family. Applications for TANF, SNAP and Medicaid have been started, although they are not eligible for TANF until they are a family with children. That eligibility begins 30 days prior to the baby’s birth. There have also been two prenatal visits. The general health screenings that CWS schedules will be later this month. And we have begun ESL tutoring.
So far all has been going fairly well. One need is to line up drivers for when they need to go to St. Clare’s hospital in Denville for the baby's delivery. We would like particularly drivers who live in the Boonton, Denville area. If you can volunteer for this, please let me know. I will email a driving grid where volunteers can select the days/ time slots when they would be able to drive the family on short notice.
Family Services Coordinator
973-627-0651 (home) or 973-978-3794 (cell)
September 18, 2018 – Good News: Third Family Arrives (PDF)
August 21, 2018 – RAMP Update Summer 2018 (PDF)
August 7, 2018
The Tarakji Family receives their Green Cards. Read more: mailchi.mp
July 9, 2018:
‘No them, only us’: Morristown celebrates its first Diversity Day
Adnan Tarakji, a Syrian immigrant, performing the Mevlevi (Whirling Dervish) Dance at Diversity Day 2018 in Morristown.
Photo by Carly Cannavina.
June 15, 2018 – Volunteers needed (PDF)
April 25, 2018 – Spring 2018 Update on our Families (Word Doc)
December 12, 2017 – End Of 2017 Updates (PDF)
July 31, 2017 – RAMP Family Update - Summer 2017 (PDF)
June 10, 2017 – RAMP Family Update - Spring 2017 (PDF)
April 1, 2017 – Refugee Assistance Morris Partners (RAMP) celebrates the arrival of the Tarakji family from Syria to Morris County
A video of Mr. Tarakji's Mevlevi (Whirling Dervish) dance performance can be found here
March 16, 2017 – Hearing the Cry of the Poor: Catholics join faith communities in Morris County to resettle Syrian refugee family
March 6, 2017 – Statement from Refugee Assistance Partners (RAP) of Scotch Plains and Fanwood, NJ, on the March Executive Order (Word file)
February 1, 2017 – RAMP update on our Syrian family
The family continues to settle in and adjust to life in their new home. Two of the children, ages 6 and 8, are enrolled in school. The 18-year- old son has a job in a pizza parlor. The father, who has a construction background, has had some temporary jobs and is seeking something more permanent. The mother, who has worked as a hairdresser, may seek a job in that field or in something else. A most urgent need is to find employment for the father. Anyone with job leads should contact RAMP at email@example.com.
RAMP volunteers have been busy helping the family with social services, medical needs, and education. The entire family has been undergoing intensive English as a Second Language instruction. There is an urgent and continuing need for more drivers, tutors and translators. Since the family does not drive, a RAMP volunteer must take them to all of their appointments. Translators also are needed on a regular basis for all their interactions with social service agencies, doctors, dentists, etc. Volunteers in these areas may contact RAMP at firstname.lastname@example.org on the website at www.rampnj.org.
Finally, a dinner is planned for April 1 at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship to meet and honor the family. More details will be forthcoming.
January 31, 2017 – Statement from RAMP on presidential executive order on refugees
RAMP stands strongly against the president's Executive Order limiting or banning entry of vetted refugees into the United States. Our organization will continue to be supportive of the courageous and inspirational family we welcomed to our country last November. In anticipation of better days ahead, RAMP will continue to advocate for refugee families, raise funds to support them, train our volunteers to help them, and be there to welcome them when they arrive at their safe new home in New Jersey. RAMP members will stay hopeful and strong.
January, 2017 – Syrian refugees settle into their new home (long) (PDF)
January, 2017 – Syrian refugees settle into their new home (short) (PDF)
November 24, 2016 – News Article on First Thanksgiving for Syrian family in Morris
October 31, 2016 – Refugee Assistance Morris Partners ready to sponsor one or more refugee families (PDF)