Meet Rachel Van Tyle, Director of Legal Services
6/17/2021 Meet Rachel Van Tyle. Rachel is our new Director of Legal Services, and she joined the team earlier this year. Rachel leads our Legal Services Program in advising and aiding our clients with their immigration law needs. 1. Tell us about yourself. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, and I grew up in […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Marissa Renaldi
Meet Marissa Renaldi. Marissa has been a youth mentor since 2020, and she has been a great friend and mentor to her mentee. We are grateful for volunteers like her who provide support for our teens. 1. Why did you decide to volunteer at Exodus and become a youth mentor? I was a member of […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Elise Durell
4/26/2021 Meet Elise Durell. Elise has been teaching English classes at Exodus for many years, and we are so grateful for her commitment and kindness. 1. Why did you choose to volunteer at Exodus?  When the Syrian Civil War erupted in 2011, I watched news reports of families with children just like mine fleeing their […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: John Binhack
4/22/2021 We are grateful for volunteers like John Binhack who make a difference in the lives of refugee youth. John was paired with his mentee, Patrick, in 2020 as part of our Youth Mentoring Program.  1. Why did you decide to volunteer at Exodus and become a youth mentor? I decided to volunteer at Exodus […]
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She owned a school in Nigeria, but watched her school burn to the ground in front of her students
March 29, 2021 Out of respect for the client’s privacy, this blog post does not have any photos and does not use the name of the client, only initials. S.H.B. was born in Jigawa, Nigeria in 1973 where she grew up most of her life. She loved kids, was a teacher and later owned a […]
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Top 10 Moments of 2020
1/28/2021 2020 was a year filled with many unexpected challenges. The way we delivered services during the COVID-19 health crisis looked different, but our dedication to our families remained the same.  This pandemic has proven that we are committed to ensuring the needs of our refugee families are met, no matter what challenges we are […]
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Celebrating 10 Years with Exodus: Yaza Swe
1/28/2021 Meet Yaza Swe. Yaza has recently been promoted to Manager of Employment Program, and he has been at Exodus for 10 years. As the Manager of Employment, Yaza works with employers around the city who are hiring, addresses barriers to employment, helps clients find jobs and supervises the employment team. 1. Tell us a […]
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Meet Jennifer Estrella McKinney, Immigration Staff Attorney
1/28/2021 1.Tell us about yourself. I am the eldest daughter of Dominican immigrants. My parents immigrated to New York City from the Dominican Republic two years before I was born. At the age of 12, my family and I moved to Indianapolis and settled in Northwest Indy. I have remained in Indiana since then and […]
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Meet Dian Krueger, Case Coordinator
1/28/2020 Meet Dian Krueger. Dian is our Case Coordinator in our new Services for Asylum Seekers program. Dian believes in the values of human life and social justice to improve the conditions of humanity, which carries on in her personal life too. 1. Tell us a little about yourself.  I am originally from New York […]
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AmeriCorps Public Ally Spotlight: Kyle Walker
Meet Kyle Walker. Kyle has joined the Exodus team as an AmeriCorps Public Ally member. She will be serving at Exodus for 10 months in the youth program.  1. Tell us a little about yourself.  I am a born-and-raised Hoosier who lived in Massachusetts while I attended Williams College and moved back to Indianapolis after […]
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AmeriCorps Public Ally Spotlight: Katherine Boyles
Meet Katherine Boyles. Katherine has joined the Exodus team as an AmeriCorps Public Ally member. She will be serving at Exodus for 10 months in the volunteer program. 1. Tell us a little about yourself. I’m an Indianapolis native, and mother of three young women. I have a Master of Public Affairs in Urban Sustainability […]
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A Warm Welcome During a Pandemic
When Kaboba Kalonda and his family first heard about COVID-19, they were worried about only one thing – that their long-held dream of resettlement in the U.S. was over. “So many people in Zambia were travelling on the same day that we travelled, but only half of the people were allowed to board (the plane),” […]
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A Letter from our Executive Director
June 20, 2020 Dear Friends of Exodus, Held annually on June 20th, World Refugee Day honors the courage and resilience of refugees across the globe and calls for us to stand, united, against persecution in all its forms. As we celebrate World Refugee Day 2020, we do so with an even greater sense of urgency and […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Jacob Dalton
We are grateful for volunteers like Jacob Dalton who make a difference in the lives of refugees. Jacob has been teaching English classes at the Exodus office for over 18 months and has continued to teach clients virtually during the coronavirus pandemic. 1. Why did you choose to volunteer at Exodus? I went to college […]
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Monthly Donor Spotlight: Rachel Vaughn
We are grateful for the generosity of our monthly donors who make our work possible. Meet Rachel Vaughn. She was a former youth mentor volunteer and has been a loyal monthly donor since 2016. We asked Rachel why she decided to become a monthly donor. She wrote: “I first reached out to Exodus in November […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Jenny Tomlinson
We are grateful for volunteers like Jenny Tomlinson who make a difference in the lives of refugees. Jenny has been teaching English classes at the Exodus office since November 2019 and has continued to teach clients virtually during the coronavirus pandemic. 1. Why did you choose to volunteer at Exodus? I started volunteering at Exodus […]
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Ways to Support Refugees on World Refugee Day
6/15/2020 Saturday, June 20, 2020 is World Refugee Day, a time when we honor the courage and resilience of refugees–recognizing the hardships they have faced, the new lives they have created, and the positive impact they have on our communities. In honor of World Refugee Day, you can stand in solidarity with refugees worldwide and […]
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Movies and Documentaries
Stay connected with Exodus during this time of social distancing by watching movies or documentaries about refugees and asylees.   Amazon Prime After Spring Two filmmakers witness the Syrian refugee crisis by following two families in transition and aid workers fighting to keep the camp running. With the Syrian conflict entering its sixth year, millions of […]
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Podcast Recommendations
Stay connected with Exodus during this time of social distancing by listening to podcasts about the stories of refugees. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite podcasts.  1. Displaced – The world is facing the largest displacement crisis since WWII as a number of humanitarian emergencies rage on. Grant Gordon and Ravi […]
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Meet Khin Sain, Women’s Program Case Manager
As the Women’s Program Case manager, Khin Sain provides case management, trainings, and social integration activities for some of our most vulnerable refugee women. She is also an accomplished musician and puts her Bachelor’s of Art degree to work directing our Refugee Women’s Art Circle. A member of the Karen ethnic group and a former […]
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Celebrating 10 Years with Exodus: Megan Hochbein
5/20/2020 Meet Megan Hochbein. Megan is the Director of Operations at Exodus, and she is celebrating 10 years with us! Megan started off at Exodus as the Volunteer Coordinator, and she has held several different roles since then. As the Director of Operations, Megan assists the Executive Director with the oversight of the organization and […]
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English Class Goes Virtual
It’s so important to maintain connections during this time of social distancing, and our teaching team has been able to do that using WhatsApp, a video chat technology that many of our clients already have on their phones. With in-person English classes no longer possible, teacher Marian Fox recognized the potential of this simple and […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Dennis and Emma Sue Davenport
1. Why did you choose to volunteer at Exodus? Dennis: Having moved to Indianapolis within the past year, Emma Sue and I were looking for opportunities to serve in the community.  We looked at a number of different programs and when we discovered Exodus, it seemed to be exactly what we were hoping to find.  […]
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Faith, Family and Service
4/24/2020 I first came across Exodus on a google search when I moved to Indiana nearly 13 years ago.  It might have been yahoo back then. In any case, I started with an email inquiry to find out how I could join the effort. I was raised in a philanthropic household with my mother as […]
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C-CERF Awarded to Exodus Refugee
April 7, 2020 Exodus is excited to announce that we have been selected as one of the recipients for the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund. We have been awarded a $100,000 grant to continue our important work of serving refugees and asylees. The funds received from the CERF-C will allow Exodus the flexibility […]
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Staff Adapt Services to Meet Urgent Needs
The way we deliver services during the COVID-19 health crisis may look different, but our commitment to the refugee community remains the same. With Governor Holcomb’s recent order to shelter in place, Exodus staff have transitioned to working remotely via phone, text, email, video chat, and other tools. Our office will remain closed to the public […]
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Meet New Board Member Dr. Quratulain Khan
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself? I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and lived in Canada before moving to the USA more than a decade ago. I started art school but then fell in love with psychology and switched fields. I work as a clinical neuropsychologist with a special interest in traumatic brain […]
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Book Recommendations
Stay connected with Exodus during this time of social distancing by reading about the refugee and immigrant experience. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite books for adults and children. Books for Adults A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival by Melissa Fleming                 […]
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Exodus Updates Regarding COVID-19
Dear Friends of Exodus, As the world responds to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Exodus is committed to serving the most vulnerable—while also doing what we can to help slow the spread of the virus. As of Monday, March 16 our office will be closed to all walk-ins and guests. All English classes, trainings, and community […]
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Meet Danielle, Mental Wellness Coordinator
We are delighted to welcome Danielle Schneider-Moran, Exodus’ new Mental Wellness Coordinator. 1. Tell us a little about yourself. I have over 10 years of experience working with diverse individuals from all over the world. I have a master’s degree in School Counseling and a Licensed Mental Health Graduate Certification from Butler University. Additionally, I […]
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Meet Board Member Michael Leppert
Meet Michael Leppert. Michael joined our board in January 2020, and we are thrilled to have him on the board. 1. Tell us a little bit about yourself? I am a husband, father, writer, teacher, student, traveler, golfer, exerciser, oh, and I am the Director of Public Affairs at Krieg DeVault, LLP in Indianapolis. That last […]
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My Internship Experience by Anna Ward
February 25, 2020 Pictured above: 2019 Fall Interns: Helmi Khosyi, Sarah Kilbarger-Stumpff, and Anna Ward In the four months I have interned at Exodus Refugee Immigration, I have been so grateful to bear witness to the lives of refugees resettling in Indianapolis. This is my first internship as a Human Services major at Ivy Tech […]
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Holcomb is right to welcome refugees in Indiana
Originally published in the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forefront on 1.24.20 In stark contrast to his predecessor, Governor Holcomb has taken both the humanitarian and the practical approach to a global issue by expressing his support of refugees resettling in Indiana. While the federal refugee resettlement program had been a bipartisan and largely uncontroversial issue historically, […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Seth McManus
We are grateful for volunteers like Seth McManus who make a difference in the lives of refugee youth. Seth was paired with his mentee, Alle, in 2019 as part of our Youth Mentoring Program. 1. Why did you decide to volunteer at Exodus and become a youth mentor? I’ve worked in missions work overseas for […]
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Indiana says YES to refugee resettlement
On September 26, President Trump issued an Executive Order requiring Governors and local officials to provide letters of consent to opt in or out of refugee resettlement. We are proud to share that this attempt to undermine the refugee resettlement program even further has failed in Indiana. In December, Indiana Governor Holcomb, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, the Hamilton […]
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New English class helps pre-literate adult learners
In a conference room at the Exodus office, four women sit around a table. They are elders, Congolese grandmothers who have ridden for an hour on the bus to come to English class today. Their heads are bent in concentration, their hands shaking slightly as they copy the letter “b.” Eight, nine, ten times they […]
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Top 10 Moments of 2019
As the year comes to an end, we reflect back on favorite moments in 2019: 1. We welcomed 394 courageous refugee newcomers from 11 different countries, including new nationalities, such as Marcel from Ivory Coast and a family of seven from Guatemala. Since 1981, we have served refugees from 49 different countries of origin.  2. […]
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2019 Refugee of the Year: Fikiri Nkulwe
Fikiri is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and he was resettled by Exodus in October 2016 with this three children. From his first moments in Indianapolis, he was thinking of how to help and serve others. A widower raising 3 children on his own, he worked the night shift on the […]
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2019 Employer of the Year: Aramark
Exodus began placing clients with Aramark in January of 2019. Since then, our staff has been very impressed with the level of commitment and care Aramark has shown to our clients. Aramark staff are respectful and sensitive to our clients’ cultural differences. If problems or misunderstandings arise, they work with the Exodus employment team and […]
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2019 Volunteer of the Year: Megan Benson
Megan has been volunteering at Exodus since 2017. She started off as a youth mentor for one of our young ladies from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Megan developed a wonderful friendship with her mentee as she helped her navigate a new culture and achieve personal goals, like studying for the driver’s test and […]
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2019 Community Partner of the Year: Second Presbyterian Church
  Our Community Partner of 2019 is Second Presbyterian Church. Members from Second Presbyterian have been involved with Exodus since January 2018. They helped Exodus welcome one of our largest families that we have resettled – a family of 12 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The team consists of 39 members who have […]
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5 Ways to Support Refugees on #GivingTuesday
This Giving Tuesday, you can give the gift of a warm welcome to refugee families in Indiana. Here are 5 ways to show your love and support on Dec. 3 and all year long. 1. Become a monthly donor. Your gift of $10, $25, or $50 every month adds up to a big impact for […]
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Refugees overcoming trauma don’t have to feel alone
  “Before I started counseling there was a darkness and it was hard to breathe. After we started talking, even if the problem didn’t change, I have changed for the better”. ~Mental Wellness Program participant, 2019   The transition to life in the U.S. can be profoundly difficult and disorienting for refugee newcomers. With few […]
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Exodus Refugee Statement on Refugee Admissions Cuts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 27, 2019 INDIANAPOLIS – Yesterday, the Trump Administration released its plan to cut refugee resettlement to a devastating 18,000 individuals in the coming year. After two years of historic lows in the program, the President has now gone even further. This shift comes during a time when global refugee numbers have […]
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Celebrating 10 Years with Exodus: Cole Varga
“The resilience I have seen in the people we serve is unmatched and a constant source of inspiration. I am truly lucky to be a part of this work.”   Cole Varga was working on his Master’s in International Relations and looking for a globally-minded internship opportunity when his professor, Dr. Jyotika Saksena (now an […]
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Nature Helps Refugee Youth Heal
Time spent enjoying nature can be deeply therapeutic, and the refugee youth who joined their mentors this month for an ecotherapy-inspired evening outdoors can attest to that.  Exodus’ Youth Program hosts an event each month for youth and their volunteer mentors, collaborating with our Mental Wellness Program at least once per year to plan outings […]
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Celebrating 10 Years with Exodus: Fung Mang
“Every day is a good memory for me because I love interacting with clients, and I love meeting new families.”   Meet Fung Mang. He is a full-time driver at Exodus, and he is celebrating 10 years with us! Fung Mang drives the Exodus bus, which is a partnership between IndyGo and Exodus. He drives […]
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Meet Kofi: Youth Mentor
For the last six months, Kofi Darku has mentored Congolese teens Aron and Simon as part of our Youth Mentor program. The program pairs youth ages 13 – 23 with an adult mentor who serves as a positive role model and guide to a new culture. It also includes monthly group activities for mentors and […]
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Mentor Program Empowers Teens
Refugee youth are in a unique position within their family. They often adapt more quickly than their parents to the culture and language of their new country. Yet, they are still kids in need of support and guidance as they navigate the challenges of the teenage years. Our Youth Mentor program pairs refugee teens with […]
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A Joyful Family Reunion
 Liyema arrived in Indianapolis with her baby daughter Sarah in April 2017, leaving behind her mom and five sisters in a Zambian refugee camp. Her first year in the U.S. was tough without her family. “I was worried about no refugees coming. I saw other families reuniting together and I always asked, “When will I see my […]
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Proud To Be an American
On June 21st, 2018, one of our very own case managers, Ally became a United States Citizen. In honor of International Day of Peace and Citizenship Day that was earlier this week, we celebrate and honor new American citizens like him. Ally, and many refugees just like him, represent the best of our nation’s values. […]
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Exodus Refugee Statement on Historically Low Refugee Admissions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 18, 2018 INDIANAPOLIS – Exodus Refugee Immigration is outraged by the Trump Administration’s decision to set the annual refugee admissions goal at just 30,000 individuals, an historic low. This decision is an affront to our values and another step in the dismantling of this humanitarian program. Our doors have always been […]
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Exodus Statement on Family Separations at the Border
Exodus Refugee Immigration is appalled by the Trump Administration’s policy to separate children from their families at our southern border. Not only is this practice inhumane, it runs against decades of established U.S. policy as well as international asylum law. Individuals requesting asylum are not breaking the law, they are seeking protection by the law. […]
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Welcome Team Spotlight: The Gate
For Volunteer Appreciation Month, we appreciate all of our Welcome Teams for welcoming refugees to Indianapolis. Welcome Teams partner with Exodus to assist a refugee family with adjusting to life in the U.S. during their first few months. Learn more about one of our Welcome Teams, The Gate who have been working with The Gashumi […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Jess McGuire
For National Volunteer Month, we appreciate all of our volunteers for their commitment to making Indianapolis a welcoming city for refugees. We would like to highlight Jess McGuire who has been volunteering with Exodus since 2015. Jess sorts and organizes donated items in our donation warehouse at Exodus. Working in the donation warehouse is not […]
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Volunteer Spotlight: Georgina Schneider
For National Volunteer Month, we appreciate all of our volunteers for their commitment to making Indianapolis a welcoming city for refugees. We would like to highlight Georgina Schneider, who has been volunteering with Exodus for the past four years. She started as a volunteer at one of our English classes. Now she tutors English to […]
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International Women’s Day: Meet Almaz & Delina
  On International Women’s Day, March 8, we honor the courage, strength, and resilience of refugee women like Almaz. Before being resettled in Indianapolis, Almaz was surrounded by corruption and injustice in her home country of Ethiopia. Escalating violence forced her to flee for her life to Sudan in 2005. From there, she traveled to […]
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One Year Later: A Syrian Family’s Life in Indy
A year ago, Syrian refugees Shereen and Fathi carried fear in their hearts and their nine-year old son Jowan in their arms. Today, the family is safe in their Indianapolis home, Jowan has access to medical care, including a wheelchair, and the only thing they carry is freedom. “The independence and safety I’ve seen here, we’ve never seen back home. By living in Indianapolis, we have seen the best.”
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She Makes Me Feel Like I Am Not a Refugee
This year, we piloted a Teen Women’s program for our young ladies from a variety of countries. The overall goal of the program was to empower refugee girls and young women as they navigate the challenges of adulthood and life in a new country. The program included workshops on topics like budgeting and finance, healthy […]
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Learning from my Elders
What refugees have to teach us “Arm. Armmmmm.” I repeat the word slowly, exaggerating the ending “m” sound as my elderly Congolese student mimics me. His facial muscles contort as he tries to make his mouth move in unfamiliar ways. We repeat the word several times, touching our arms as we do so to cement […]
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Our Missing Refugee Neighbors
A letter from our Executive Director Cole Varga regarding the latest Executive Order. On January 30th of this year, one of our Syrian refugee families was anticipating the arrival of their relatives here in Indianapolis through the refugee program. These relatives in Jordan were packing their belongings and saying their goodbyes. However, with the signing of an Executive Order just a few days before their travel date, they were told…
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Global Women’s Friendship Dinner
When we share a meal together, we are not just feeding our empty stomachs, but also feeding our minds and fueling our hearts. The dinner table is a simple reminder that we are all human, and we all have more in common than we think. The most common language between one another is food. Food […]
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Iraqi Pursues Dream Job at JW Marriott
A pivotal moment in a refugee’s new life in the United States is securing his or her first job. For Ramee, whose family fled persecution in Iraq, the JW Marriott Indianapolis has helped him realize his dream of working in Information Technology. Ramee started at the JW Marriott in housekeeping. “I was looking for a […]
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In Them I See My Own Family
March 23, 2017 The door swings wide, and I am greeted with open arms and a brilliant smile. Mamma K, an older Syrian woman, pulls me in close for a tight hug and customary kisses on each cheek. She shuffles me inside, and we exchange greetings, quickly exhausting her English and my Arabic. Her husband […]
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In the Spotlight: Morales Group Inc. Staffing
Exodus is grateful for the many community partners who make our work possible. Starting as a small family business in 2003, the Morales Group has quickly grown into a thriving source of employment in Indianapolis, and we're so lucky to have their support.
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A new wave of Burmese find refuge in Indiana
Communities thrive on compassion. Exodus has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylees from many countries, cultures, languages, faiths, and political opinions. We began in 1981 with the mission to serve the legal needs of immigrants and Cuban refugees, who had arrived as part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980.
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Hoping for an Airport Reunion: One Refugee Family’s Story
John Green welcomed a Burmese family and filmed their reunion of the husband reuniting with his wife after four years and meeting his four-year-old son for the first time. 
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Indiana Advocacy Groups Denounce Trump’s New Travel Ban
A press conference with ACLU, MAI (Muslim Alliance of Indiana) and Exodus Refugee Immigration was held at Exodus denouncing the 2.0 Muslim Travel Ban.  Read more at Indiana Public Media.
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As Indiana governor, Pence failed to exclude Syrian refugees. Now the federal administration he serves is trying nationally.
Exodus Refugee has continued to welcome and serve welcome refugees even though Mike Pence tried to stop them. Lababidi family was the first Syrian family Exodus welcomed in October 2014 are now worried after the Executive Order was announced.  Read more in the Washington Post.
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#RefugeesWelcome
Dear Friends of Refugees, On Friday, President Trump signed an Executive Order that delivered a major blow to the refugee resettlement program. It is an unprecedented action in our nation’s long history of welcoming refugees and it goes against everything we stand for as Americans. I am thankful that none of Exodus’ refugee families were […]
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