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No sooner had the Relief Society general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints urged LDS women worldwide to serve refugees, phones starting ringing off the hook at local nonprofit agencies that assist refugees.

“It was pretty much to the minute,” Catherine Barnhart, executive director of the English Skills Learning Center,said Friday.

The center provides English instruction and offers other classes to help refugees and immigrants succeed in their new lives in the United States by obtaining citizenship, learning financial management skills or parenting techniques. Most of the classes are taught by trained volunteers.

The nonprofit agencies that help resettle some 1,200 refugees that come to Utah each year reported similar levels of interest.

“We’ve received a ton of inquiries into the work we do, for volunteers and how people can get involved. That’s been great. However, it does max the capacity to respond as quickly as we’d like to,” said Natalie El-Deiry, deputy director of development and strategic initiatives for the Salt Lake office of the refugee resettlement nonprofit organization International Rescue Committee,

“While the interest has been great, we do need people to be patient while we go through the proper volunteer channels,” she said.


To read the full article on Deseret News, click here