CAO's Social program is designed to pair an African caseworker with an African individual or family who might otherwise struggle to understand American customs and culture. From completing a housing application to doctors’ visits and court dates, there are dozens of every day experiences that can be foreign and overwhelming to someone who isn’t familiar with the country or language.
Caseworkers also assist CAO members in finding their way through community systems and resources, helping them to overcome barriers in language or familiarity. There are numerous programs available in Colorado that could offer life-changing benefits to CAO members, from Medicare, clinics, and housing agencies to others focused on substance abuse, homelessness prevention, food, and educational opportunities. By assessing needs on an individual basis, caseworkers can ensure that members get access to the assistance they need most – instead of having them slip through the cracks because they didn’t know how to find help.
Additionally, caseworkers try to integrate immigrants into the local community by introducing them to other families and businesses that might have ties to their homelands. For instance, someone coming to Colorado from Somalia through the diversity visa lottery is not eligible for any kind of government assistance or programs to help them make the transition. Through the Social program, a caseworker might drive them around, showing them all the Somali stores, restaurants, and families in the area, perhaps even helping them to find employment at one of these businesses. Similarly, we assist with problems of communication with landlords, employers, and other third parties as the need arises.
CAO serves approximately 280 individual clients per year through the Social program and is looking to expand, so we need volunteers from both the African community and Colorado families. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Linda Johnson at 303-953-7060, or at email@example.com.