Community Outreach & Advocacy for Refugees
Refugees are those forced to flee their country for fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion. Refugees given the chance to start a new life in the United States are invariably grateful and strive to make the most of the opportunity. Resettlement, however, can be a daunting task. Imagine being uprooted to a completely unfamiliar place. Since 1975, over 2.5 million refugees have courageously undertaken this endeavor in our country.
Community Outreach & Advocacy for Refugees (COAR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support locally resettled refugees in their efforts to rebuild positive, self-sufficient lives. Founded at Arizona State University in 2002, COAR mobilizes community networks and resources to help refugees adjust to their new surroundings and promote their future success. Since its inception, COAR has served nearly 600 refugees. It is currently overseen by a fourteen-member board of directors, manages over 70 volunteers, and is preparing to expand its services outside of Phoenix.
In pursuit of its mission, COAR engages in three primary activities: I. The Volunteer Anchor Program recruits and trains volunteers to serve as friends and mentors to refugee families recently resettled in the Phoenix area. COAR volunteers provide cultural education, local orientation and English language practice to refugee families, enabling them to better participate in and contribute to their new community. II. The Reaching Higher! Program is a semester-long college preparation program tailored to the educational needs and obstacles faced by refugee youth. The program brings together refugee high school students, volunteer mentors and educational resources to provide information and guidance in pursuing higher education. III. The Awareness & Advocacy Program raises public awareness and advocacy of refugee issues by implementing events such as film screenings, panel discussions and cultural performances.