Providing Refuge for Refugees

LSS/NCA, Northern Virginia

Katherine Hughes on April 5, 2019 in Food & Shelter

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) fills a wide range of needs, including helping unaccompanied refugee children through the adoption and foster care process, those who feel marginalized due to medical issues, and helping refugee families resettle. LSS/NCA has worked for over a century to help the community of Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., ever since its founding in 1917.

Autumn Kendrick is the Director of Communications and Marketing for LSS/NCA. She has many duties in her position, including managing LSS/NCA’s website and social media accounts, outreach to donors and the community, and management over LSS/NCA’s increasing advocacy efforts. In describing the mission of LSS/NCA, Kendrick says “The mission of LSS/NCA is to walk with those in need and mobilize community partners to provide services that offer hope and rebuild lives.”

LSS/NCA has been a part of the Washington D.C. community for a long time. Over this time, LSS/NCA’s mission has evolved to best suit the needs of the local community. Kendrick states that the reason LSS/NCA has existed for so long is that it fills these needs. “Last year, we resettled over 600 refugees, found adoptive families for over 40 children, provided foster homes for two dozen unaccompanied refugee minors, and provided peer support and care navigation to over 100 children and families affected by the stigma of HIV, mental illness, and substance abuse,” Kendrick says about the needs LSS/NCA is currently filling.

In the future, Kendrick believes LSS/NCA will continue to fill the needs of the local community. “The future of LSS/NCA is ever-changing. It is the agency's tradition to meet the changing needs of the community and we will continue to develop services to fill service gaps in our community. We will continue to offer the highest standard of services through our dedicated and passionate staff,” she said.

Although LSS/NCA has been an important organization in the Washington D.C. community for a century, Kendrick still sees some areas for LSS/NCA to improve. “As a local non-profit we are always looking for ways to streamline resources and collaborate with other local agencies. We are currently striving to meet with and partner with like-organizations so that we can aid each other in serving similar populations,” she said.

Although there is room for improvement, LSS/NCA is currently doing good work throughout the Washington D.C. area, in the areas that are their current priorities: refugee resettlement, helping unaccompanied refugee minors, and youth development and wellness. They rely on the help of support of the community, including through volunteers. “Volunteers are essential for the operations of LSS/NCA. They not only help our agency run smoothly but help us provide holistic and comprehensive services to those in need. Volunteer opportunities range from front desk reception and data entry to refugee mentoring and on-call drivers. A list of available opportunities can always be found on our website,” Kendrick says. However, there are other ways to support LSS/NCA besides volunteering. These include donating furniture for newly resettled refugee families, advocating for LSS/NCA and its mission, fostering youth, and donating. For more information about supporting LSS/NCA, please visit their website at https://lssnca.org.

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