What is a Good Neighbor Team (GNT):
True transformation happens through relationship. The GNT opportunity allows for relationships to form. A GNT is a group of people who are passionate about showing Christ’s love to the refugee community here in the Upstate. A GNT is partnered with an individual refugee or refugee family for at least six months and works to assist WRD staff with various aspects of the resettlement process. A GNT’s role is to create loving, lasting, life-long, mutually beneficial relationships with their partnered refugees through integral mission, weekly visits to the family and assisting with the resettlement process. A GNT is often a pre- existing small group, community group, life group (etc.) from a local Church; however, a GNT can also be any group of people that come together out of their love for Christ for the purpose of relationally serving the nations.
What are the expectations of a GNT?
Complete the apartment set-up for partnered refugees (following the instructions for the Apartment Set-Up team)When refugees arrive to the Upstate, they need a home. The opportunity to set up refugee apartments reminds us that refugees had to flee their own homes. An apartment stocked with basic needs is a gift to a refugee family, and creates for them what is oftentimes their first permanent home in a while. Apartment Set-Up Teams or Good Neighbor Teams are mobilized to create a welcoming home for a newly-arrived refugee. They utilize their networks to gather all items for an apartment, as well as put extra touches on the apartment that go above and beyond what is required. They also stock the refugees’ refrigerator and pantry with a week’s worth of food!
Be a Welcome Team for partnered refugees (following instructions for the Welcome Team)Refugees’ last stop on their journey is the GSP airport. Many of them have waited several years for this opportunity, and stepping off the plane is, in many ways, the culmination of this wait. WR volunteers and an interpreter are there to greet newly arrived refugees, welcoming them to America. Volunteers and the interpreter accompany refugees to baggage claim, assist them with any bags, and travel from the airport to their new home, usually in an apartment complex near Greenville or Spartanburg. Volunteers and the interpreter teach them how to use basic items and safety features in their new apartment, and communicate the refugees’ next step in the resettlement process. The volunteers and interpreter then say goodbye to their new friends, and hopefully will meet up with them again to continue their friendship. Note: Working with refugees rarely follows “typical” patterns. Be flexible, adventurous and prepared for change!
Visit partnered refugees weekly for a minimum of six months.To help GNTs foster a solid relationship from the beginning with their partnered refugees, WR provides a list of resettlement services that a GNT can sign up to provide. Whether or not there is a specific resettlement service opportunity available each week, GNTs are required to visit their partnered refugees at least once a week in order to develop friendships with them. GNTs are encouraged to sign up for resettlement services. They should note that they are taking ownership of the completion of these services. Options are listed here. These visits allow for a friendship to form. Through friendship, GNTs will organically assist refugees with cultural adjustment, and refugees will teach GNTs about their own cultures.