Welcoming refugees to our area, one family at a time
Uniting neighbors, houses of worship, community organizations and key service providers in Ossining, Cold Spring and surrounding towns, with the shared mission of welcoming and integrating federally-sponsored refugees into our communities.
Ossining for Refugees is now Open Arms for Refugees, in recognition that our scope and support extend well beyond Ossining. With help from a new 2:1 matching grant from the David Swope Fund, we continue to expand our work welcoming and resettling refugee families in the greater Westchester area.
We invite you to join our network of volunteers and service providers to support our newest neighbors and help them make a successful transition to a new country with unfamiliar food, customs and language. Join us in saying, “Welcome to your new home.”
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LIVE FILM SCREENING
Open Arms is proud to partner with the Jacob Burns Film Center in sharing films which reveal the real world from which our new Afghan neighbors have escaped. Our public screening of the PBS Frontline documentary “Afghanistan Undercover” last November included a live interview with its filmmaker, Ramita Navai. (More about that event here.) In January 2023, we partnered again to screen “Retrograde.” Short-listed for Best Documentary, the film captures the final nine months of America’s 20-year war. Our screening included an in-person interview by Janet Maslin with award-winning director Matthew Heineman. As we work at Open Arms to integrate recent refugees into our communities, we share these films as important background for all Americans to grasp; this is the real world from which our new Afghan neighbors have escaped, yet cannot fully leave behind.
Open Arms for Refugees began in the summer of 2021 when Ossining resident Sofia Bator learned that her cousin, whom we call F to protect her identity, was trapped in Afghanistan and in danger of being imprisoned or killed by the Taliban. With the help of local and national leaders including Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, US Congressman Mondaire Jones and US Senator Chuck Schumer, F was rescued from Kabul by US Marines in late August. Inspired by Sofia’s determination and F‘s rescue, Ossining Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg and community volunteer Ted Buerger invited local friends and neighbors to come together to assist F and others, welcoming them to our community. The community responded, and Ossining for Refugees was formed in October 2021. As our scope and support grew beyond Ossining, we adopted the new name of Open Arms for Refugees.
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How We Work
Open Arms for Refugees works in partnership with federally-sponsored resettlement agencies including HIAS and Catholic Charities as well as diverse local organizations to provide refugees and their immediate families with necessities including housing, furniture, clothing, and employment assistance. We also connect them with medical care, schools, ESL classes, and temporary government services like SNAP. MORE
From day one over the next three to six months, we help our new neighbors navigate the challenges and opportunities of their new home – in the belief that they will, in turn, enrich our own community.
Open Arms for Refugees is a Community Sponsorship organization, bringing together neighbors, houses of worship, community organizations and key service providers in Ossining, Cold Spring and surrounding towns, with the shared mission of welcoming and integrating federally-sponsored refugees into our communities.