NewBridges supports a community of neighbors
by Alicia Horst
Executive Director of NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center, Harrisonburg, Va.
Mennonite churches wanting to serve the more recent immigrant communities to the Shenandoah Valley launched NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center in 2000. We are located in downtown Harrisonburg and connect with hundreds of individuals and families in our region who have questions ranging from where to find English classes to where one can locate affordable healthcare.
Our staff works directly with people who are navigating significant medical expenses and have successfully assisted patients with financial assistance awards of more than $560,000. Our Immigration Legal Program has assisted over 120 people with screenings and representations this year. Those who are eligible have been able to apply for an Employment Authorization Document, Permanent Residency, or Citizenship, depending on their particular situation.
Our team of five staff members supports people who choose our office because we maintain a confidential space. We also visit schools and other community spaces to present general information that may be relevant for students and families.
The Spirit’s work of compassion and hospitality guides our daily work of presence and accompaniment. We are grateful for the many churches who establish genuine relationships with people living in their neighborhoods and connect families with community resources.
I regularly think about what citizenship means in this country and what it means in a faith that highly values the authority and presence of God at work in the world above human allegiance to governments and geographical boundaries. How deeply we care for humans, created in God’s image, in the midst of the complexity of human constructs is one of the fundamental challenges of our faith. Join us in supporting our community of neighbors.