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Welcome Circle

Welcome Circles 

With deep experience in refugee resettlement HIAS launched Welcome Circles to welcome Ukrainian refugees, and WJCI has teamed up with HIAS to join the effort.

WJCI is no longer assisting the formation of Welcome Circles. Please stay tuned for future updates! 

Image by Tetiana SHYSHKINA


Uniting for Ukraine is the federal program, announced on April 21, through which the U.S. government will accept 100,000 people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Although those arriving through this program are not eligible for traditional resettlement, local resettlement affiliates are working to provide as much support as possible.


And so WJCI is stepping up! We are not only offering to provide funding but one of our team members is an official HIAS Welcome Circle Liaison and can walk you through the process, step by step. Read our one-sheet here.


Through Welcome Circles, a group of 5-8 volunteers provides their new neighbors with the type of assistance usually provided by resettlement professionals for six months, often with support from their broader community. The primary role of a Welcome Circle is to help individuals and families get their feet on the ground by sharing tools and helping to navigate and guide. You are not adopting them – you are a support for a family who came as an expert on their own life and needs, helping them navigate a new country and new systems.


Welcome Circles have access to the following: Ongoing support offered through an organization called a Sponsor Circle Umbrella; a growing suite of tools (e.g., checklists, guides) to support you in your sponsorship and; a Sponsor Fund to which you can apply for financial support. See all our resettlement groups here!

1. Recruit 5-8 critical Welcome Circles members: Start thinking about who in their communities might be interested in starting a Welcome Circle. Look to people who are problem solvers with specific skill sets and diverse backgrounds and availability from your community.

2. Identify roles: Sponsor Circle Coordinator, Finance & Employment Team, Housing & Basic Necessities Team, Benefits & Healthcare Team, Welcoming & Local Orientation Team, Education & Language Team,  


3. Apply to become a Welcome Circle through Choose Ukraine and HIAS 


4. Create a work plan describing travel, housing, benefits, medical and mental health care, education & childcare, cultural connections, employment, transportation, fundraising, 


5. Make sure each person completes a background check.


6. Ensure that at least one member of your circle completes the sponsor circle course and knowledge check.

7. Make sure every sponsor circle member signs a code of conduct agreement.


8. Access resources and ask questions on the HIAS Welcome Circles Community of Practice, an online platform designed to help you connect with additional resources and guides, as well as with other circles around the country who are going through similar processes. You will get a login after becoming certified as a Welcome Circle. 


9. Fundraise.

10. Interested in forming a Welcome Circle in Westchester, Rockland County, Riverdale or Northwest Bronx? Email us at to get more information.

Image by Aleksandr Kadykov


Image by Anastasiia Krutota


WC Resources
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