Story by Liz Corrigan, Greater Chicago Region, International Services Intern
Last week Outreach Mini-Grant volunteer lead, Whitney Trumble, and International Services Support Manager, Michelle McSweeney, presented on the Restoring Family Links (RFL) program at DePaul University’s Law School. The event was hosted by DePaul’s Society for Asylum and Immigration Law (SAIL), a student organization that looks to expose law students to asylum and immigration law through guest speakers, presentations, and firsthand experience in the Greater Chicago area.
After receiving an Outreach Mini-Grant award, Whitney, together with a team of both new and experienced RFL staff and volunteers, developed a strategic plan to increase outreach and partnerships throughout the Greater Chicago Region. By connecting with local student groups, community organizations, and public resources they are spreading awareness of RFL services.
DePaul’s SAIL provided an excellent outreach opportunity, as many of the students in attendance are also involved in DePaul University’s Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic (AILC) that works to assist clients on legal cases relating to asylum, justice or immigration issues. During the event, students expressed that RFL services could be of use to clients they are currently working with through the AILC. The student-centered discussion also resulted in staff contacts for the AILC, connections to the legal clinics at other Chicago universities, and an opportunity to participate in the annual SAIL networking event that is attended by community based organizations, attorneys, students and volunteers of the AILC - all of whom are dedicated to serving the immigrant and refugee communities in Chicago.
Throughout the next few months the Chicago RFL team will be scheduling more events like this one to increase awareness of RFL program services. The RFL team is currently focusing outreach efforts on Chicago neighborhoods with large immigrant and refugee populations such as Rogers Park, Pilsen, Uptown, Bridgeport, Humboldt Park, Chinatown and more. Through new partnerships with organizations like SAIL, and using a combined approach of targeted canvassing and outreach to organizations specific to those neighborhoods, the Chicago RFL team hopes to continue building Red Cross presence and RFL service delivery for all those in need of our support.