Taught by Reiko Ozaki
Social work intervention in groups, organizations, and large systems; knowledge, skill, and appropriate worker role useful in working with neighborhood and community action groups and different types of organizations. Course restricted to Social Work majors accepted into the program.
- SWK 405 Student
Social work is a profession that is deeply rooted in the community. Social workers historically helped and advocated for the vulnerable people in the community. This tradition continues today. Students in SWK 405 learned about the refugee people and their needs and strength in Northern Kentucky. We raised funds for RefugeeConnect, a small but mighty organization who has worked with my students in various ways over the last few years.
This year, we have tried Impact NKU and raised over 200% of original goal! Students learned not only about how crowdfunding works but also about how funding works for non-profits while getting to know the refugee community that most were not familiar with.
Student Reflection on Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Non-Profits:
After the meeting with Kristen, I learned that Covid has really impacted their non-profit organization, RefugeeConnect. They have taken steps to adjust smoothly, however it was a process. Their new normal and into the future became all virtual. This was a big adjustment as they were mostly hands-on/in-person involvement with the people they serve, especially in schools. In addition, they have more families than ever to help support because of all problems stemming from the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the chronic underfunding that so many non-profits have been operating in for so long. COVID-19 has caused significant unemployment, food insecurity, and reduced access to essential services. Many non-profits, like RefugeeConnect, are supposed to help address the needs of our most vulnerable populations. However, they are currently operating without sufficient funding and with a significant increase in the number of people who need their services.
Student Reflection on Role of Individual Donation to Non-Profits:
I have learned that individual donations play a huge role in non-profits. Especially with RefugeeConnect, I have had lots of people say to me, "why should I help? What does it have to do with me?" Individual donations go beyond that by showing that even though it may not have anything to do with you, you are still willing to help these people and give some time out of your day by sharing a link or donating. I feel that individual donations also give hope: There really are people out there who care.
Individuals play a big role when it comes to funding for non-profits. You usually think that only big organizations or the government fund non-profits, but individuals do have a big impact. When you spread the word from person to person, you have great chance to raise money because when people hear about the things Refugee Connect does, for example, they want to get involved and help.
Individual donations are vital for non-profits like RefugeeConnect. During our meeting with Kristin, she shared how impactful individual donations are because the organization can decide where that money goes, and they are the ones who know which aspect of their organization needs it most. While perhaps no one individual donation is going to make or break a non-profit, together these donations can form a large percentage of the non-profit's operating income.
Remarks from Kristin Burgoyne, Executive Director of RefugeeConnect:
RefugeeConnect’s Community Navigator Program is staffed by trained refugee and immigrant community leaders who are representative of the populations we serve. Community Navigators provide native language support to guide families in accessing resources and services in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Community Navigators are paired with individuals and families by language and culture to enhance family stability, remove barriers to integration, and support a more welcoming community for the region's newest neighbors and to support families by increasing self-determination and resilience.
As RefugeeConnect addresses families' immediate needs and as families become more stable, we have recognized that a natural progression towards a coaching model will help ensure the long-term success of refugees beyond COVID. The goal of the Community Navigator Program is to expand our capacity to serve more refugee families in Northern Kentucky by providing intensive supportive services that enable refugee and immigrant families to thrive. With a recent formalized partnership with Boone County Schools, RefugeeConnect will enhance services and increase connections to families in need who speak Spanish, French, Lingala, Swahili, and Chin while assisting Boone County Schools in their endeavor to create more welcoming school environments for refugee students and their families.
The NKU student led fundraiser by Dr. Reiko Ozaki’s SWK 405 class is integral to supporting this endeavor. On behalf of the RefugeeConnect staff and Board of Directors, I am grateful for the energy and passion of this group of young adults and being good stewards for refugees across the region. I am also in awe that a group of young college students could surpass their fundraising goal by 205%. Your fundraiser alone has helped us secure 29% of our total fundraising goal for Community Navigators for 2021 and will support 2 Community Navigators who can support up to 50 families.