Effective engagement and service provision with refugee populations requires a basic understanding of the refugee experience, cultural norms, and barriers and challenges of the resettlement process. This training offers this information as well as practical tips and suggestions for engaging and serving the many different refugee populations represented in the Amarillo area. Topics discussed will include community resources that offer services for refugees, how refugees often view law enforcement based on previous experiences in the countries of origin, important cultural traditions and aspects that must be understood to avoid misinterpreting behavior or incidents when conducting assessments and investigations, and expectations of refugee populations when encountering service providers in the community.
Course Learning Objectives:
At the end of this class, participants will be able to:
• Identify refugee populations in the area and understand a brief history of the major countries of origin, the conflicts that led to forced migration, refugee camp life, and how refugees become resettled in a third country such as the United States.
• Summarize aspects of the major refugee cultures represented in the Amarillo area.
• Identify barriers and challenges of different refugee populations in adjustment to the American economic system and acculturation process upon arrival, such as level of educational attainment, previous exposure to modern amenities and western medicine, trauma, the amount of cultural orientation received prior to and after resettlement, previous experiences with authority figures, and differences in social norms.
• Identify practical tips for respectful engagement with all refugee populations.
• Identify organizations that provide resources for refugee populations.
• Understand how religion, culture, and past experiences shape the way refugees respond to law enforcement, CPS, and school staff and faculty.
• Identify cultural norms that are important to know when conducting investigations, assessments, or offering services to refugee individuals or families.
• Understand the expectations that refugee families may have of CPS, law enforcement, or organization staff at places like the Bridge.
How Will Student Learning Be Assessed?:
Verbal discussion and Q&A throughout course.
Participants will be offered an opportunity to receive a copy of the Power Point and will receive a copy of any handouts used in the presentation.
Holly Bellah, LMSW, is an Instructor of Social Work at West Texas A&M University. Her social work practice career was in school social work and work with foster and adoptive youth and families. After working with a local refugee-led organization and teaching ESL to refugee and immigrant populations, Ms. Bellah has continued to stay connected to the refugee population by focusing her research on issues that make refugee resettlement difficult. She also offers workshops in the community on refugee populations, the refugee experience, diversity and culture. Holly Bellah currently serves on the Amarillo Refugee Advisory Council, the WT Anti-Racism Think Tank, and on the Amarillo Refugee Services of Texas Advisory Council. Growing up in Hong Kong and Taiwan and living in India as an adult, combined with her work with people from other countries, has led Ms. Bellah to a lifetime endeavor to understand culture and to offer education to others on practical tips and strategies for navigating culture.
9:00-9:10: Welcome and Introductions
9:10-10:35: Introduction to major refugee populations in the Amarillo area, the refugee experience, refugee camp life, and the resettlement process.
10:45-12:00: Practical knowledge for engagement, assessment, investigation, and service provision with refugee populations. Q&A