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Local bike drive, volunteer training aim to aid refugees

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona has launched “Bikes Without Borders” to distribute bicycles to newly arrived refugees through local refugee resettlement agencies.

“Bikes Without Borders” is seeking donations of new or used adult and child-sized bicycles and helmets, locks, lights and other bike supplies. Volunteers can gather donations and help repair donated bikes. For more information, contact Ori Parnaby, Jewish community concierge, at 299-3000, ext. 241 or concierge@jewishtucson.org.

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Congregation Or Chadash will host a Tucson-wide free training session for volunteers who want to work with refugees on Monday, May 22 from 6-8 p.m.

“Refugee 101: Info Night” is a cooperative effort among the three local refugee resettlement agencies — Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Community Services and the International Rescue Committee — and many other local organizations that aid refugees.

Topics to be covered include the terms refugee, asylee and immigrant; how welcoming refugees can help strengthen the country’s security; how to welcome a family in your neighborhood; and how new Americans become self-sufficient.

“It’s rather exciting that so many are working together to make the transition for refugees more efficient and uniform,” says Fran Braverman, an Or Chadash member who volunteers with Noor Women’s Association.

Participants can RSVP to Braverman at fran.refugees@gmail.com.

“Refugee 101” trainings are also scheduled for June 29 at Catholic Community Services, 140 W. Speedway Blvd., Suite 130; July 20 at Refugee Focus, 120 N. Stone Ave, #220; Aug. 17 at the IRC, 2100 N. Kolb Road, Suite 103; and Sept. 5 at the University of Arizona Downtown Campus, 44 N. Stone Ave.

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