Welcome Circles

Afghan newcomers prepare an Eid meal to share with members of the HIAS Welcome Circle that helped resettle them in Minneapolis a few months earlier. May 2022. (HIAS)

HIAS Welcome Circles logo

HIAS launched Welcome Circles in 2021 as part of an emergency response to the fall of Kabul, building a network of volunteers across the country who together, helped Afghan evacuees join their communities. In 2022, HIAS adapted the model for Ukrainians, millions of whom have fled their country and are now eligible to come to the United States through Uniting for Ukraine.

HIAS Welcome Circles are typically comprised of five to eight volunteers who assist newcomers over a six-month period with the goal of helping them integrate into their new community and move toward self-sufficiency. Circle members help newcomers set up new homes, access language classes, find jobs, access health care and other benefits, register their children for school, and so much more.

HIAS supports groups who are already connected with Ukrainians in need of welcome as well as those who are not – our secure RUTH database matches Welcome Circles with Ukrainian newcomers in need of sponsorship.

HIAS works with Welcome Circles from all faiths, communities, and sectors. All Welcome Circles become part of HIAS’ national Welcome Circle network, gaining access to relevant resources, how-to guides, and trainings informed by our technical experts; regular drop-in office hours with program and legal staff; and an online community of practice.

Please note that all Welcome Circles for Ukrainians must:

  • Launch with a minimum of five people over age 18. HIAS recommends the core group not exceed eight people.
  • Commit to a minimum six-month period of support, with the goal of the newcomer(s) achieving self-sufficiency.
  • Pass mandatory background checks and an online knowledge assessment on the roles and responsibilities of circles as part of the application process.
  • Submit a “Welcome Plan” through which they articulate the ways they will connect Ukrainian newcomers to services during the initial resettlement phase. This plan will include securing housing, accessing benefits, connecting to healthcare and education, and other forms of community orientation.

To gain a sense of what being part of a Welcome Circle is like, both for volunteers and for newcomers, read about Dina, Ali, and their daughter’s story.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions here.

VIDEO

Welcome in Action - Community Support for Ukrainians

Learn more about how HIAS has adapted the Welcome Circle model for Ukrainians who have fled their homes in this May 2022 webinar.