Building Bridges: The Refugee Social Services Program

On September 2nd at 11am, the American Civic Association held a workshop on one of its many services that help newcomers to the United States sustain themselves and integrate into their new environment. This program is The Refugee Social Services Program or RSSP.

RSSP is a program designed to support refugees, asylees, and people with temporary protected status in the United States. The program assists clients in tackling several obstacles of adjusting to a new area with a key emphasis on employability and job placement.

The RSSP eases a lot of the pressures of job finding by providing services such as job coaching, resume writing, interview preparation, support in finding ESL or other necessary classes, and even transportation if needed.

In addition to professional guidance, the RSSP provides transitional aid which includes necessities such as food assistance, health care services, housing assistance and many other things that can help refugees maintain a household while searching for a job.

Eligibility for the program is based on time spent in the U.S.. To be eligible for the program, clients must have spent less than 60 months or five years in the United States. If already granted some form of immigration status, eligibility will be based on the day you received that status.

The goal with the RSSP is to integrate refugees, asylees and anyone eligible for the program into the community as well as make them completely self-sufficient. This is done through engaging the skills they already possess and utilizing various services to expand on them or develop new skills.

While acquiring status in the U.S. is very important to many of the clients at the ACA, Aye Aye Mar the coordinator of the Refugees Social Services Program describes how much more goes into the concept of sustainability for a refugee:

“What they (RSSP clients) don’t always know about the RSSP program is that I can also handle things like childcare and transportation, along with many other things related to social services...I even focus on women’s health and connecting folks with proper medical care” she stated.

The program is designed to address all areas related to developing and maintaining a career. There can be many barriers for a newcomer to the United States, but the American Civic Association works hard to remove those barriers and diminish their effects. The Refugee Social Services Program is one of the many ways we are able to do that.

For more information on The Refugee Social Services Program and how to get involved, either as a volunteer or a client, you can contact the American Civic Association at or call us at 607-723-9419.

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