A Sampling of Immigrant Assistance Nonprofits in Columbus, OH
Following is a small sample of some of the nonprofit organizations in the Columbus area that are dedicated to assist immigrants, refugees and asylees:
Avanza Together helps fight deportation proceedings against immigrants with no criminal record, with a particularly strong emphasis on preventing families from being torn apart through deportation. It employs an advocate to help families navigate their way through deportation/removal proceedings by helping with transportation, offering interpretation services, advocating on behalf of these families, and providing social service resource referrals. Other services provided by Avanza Together include:
Raising legal defense funds;
Offering seminars that advise immigrants of their legal rights; and
Organizing community-building opportunities among the Columbus immigrant community
The Columbus Literacy Council (CLC)
The Columbus Literacy Council (CLC) Many, if not most immigrants arrive in Columbus with only a rudimentary or even a non-existent knowledge of the English language. Even Spanish is not spoken or used as often in Columbus as it is in many other cities of the same size or larger. The CLC offers free literacy classes for adults including English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, citizenship courses (because a rudimentary knowledge of English is required for citizenship and even Spanish classes.
Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS)
Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2000 and originally dedicated to serving Ethiopian immigrants. It now assists immigrants from dozens of countries with a variety of matters that frequently challenge new arrivals to Columbus. ETSS programs assist with integration into the wider Columbus immigrant community and provide services such as:
education assistance and academic skills training;
Job training and placement;
health care referrals (including mental health);
Staff members speak over 30 languages, and ETSS maintains over a dozen locations throughout the Columbus area.
Fugees Academy Columbus
Fugees Academy Columbus is a private, non-profit academy that provides full-time schooling for refugee children from 6th grade to 12th grade. It was founded by Luma Mufleh, the daughter of Syrian refugees. All Fugees Academy students are refugees — in fact, it is the only school in the United States that can make this boast. The school maintains campuses in Columbus, Cleveland, and Clarkston, Georgia (near Atlanta).
Tuition is free of charge, and the results have been spectacular — a 100 percent college enrollment rate so far. Fugees Academy has also won a Renewal Award, given out by the Renewal Project to only 10 schools out of 3,000 candidates. Additionally, since Fugees Academy started out as an after-school soccer program in 2006, and it still maintains a strong emphasis on athletics.
Muslim Family Services (MFS) of Ohio
Muslim Family Services (MFS) of Ohio serves the various needs of Columbus’s Muslim immigrant community. Its stated mission is to “empower families to lead self-sufficient and self-fulfilling lives…” It is to this end that MFS directs the wide variety of services that it offers.
MFS provides the following services, among others:
Financial assistance with basic needs;
Mediation and conflict resolution;
Assistance with document preparation, including immigration-related documents;
English language training;
Job skills training;
Funeral services; and
Various other services.
The Bridge is dedicated to serving the needs of refugees and homeless people. Their services include: