Chicago Tribune | ‘I don’t believe people need to be fearful of refugees’

World Relief DuPage/Aurora Executive Director Susan Sperry said opening people’s minds and hearts is an important part of holding meetings like the one in Aurora.

“We do this work because we believe it is reflective of the heart of God for people and reflective of God’s care and passion for those who are vulnerable,” she said.

The two-hour session covered how the presidential administration’s executive order on immigration changed the U.S. Refugee Admissions program and suggested ways individuals, groups and churches can be a voice on these issues.

Sperry said the sweeping policy changes have thrown organizations that resettle refugees into “disarray.” She said the local offices of World Relief as well as those around the country will take a “significant hit” with limits placed on refugees.

Although the local offices will remain open, they too, will be impacted.

“We anticipate a $500,000 drop literally overnight in our budget,” Sperry said.

She said a few staff members will have their last days of work over the next couple of weeks and they will have to eliminate other positions as well.

Sperry said even with reductions they will have to increase their fundraising efforts.

“We already had an ambitious fundraising goal,” she told the audience. “We are increasing our fundraising to $1.5 million this fiscal year.”

Naperville resident Kelsey Coznes said she studied in England and taught refugees English and now wants to find out how she can help.

“I learned how incredible and hard-working refugees are and how much suffering they endured. I grew more passionate about their situation and want to understand more to help,” Coznes said.

Coznes said she currently works for a church in student ministry.

“I was brought up with a lot of privileges living in Naperville,” Coznes said. “I feel that I need to use some of those privileges to help people who happened to be born somewhere else.”

Read more at ‘I don’t believe people need to be fearful of refugees’.