Chair: Galen Workman
A Hands-On Social Justice Project
Members of the Guardian Group provide support to sexual minority refugees, asylum seekers, and asylees who are being resettled in San Francisco and nearby cities.
All people being assisted by the group are in the United States legally. The group's work includes practical contacts such as navigating governmental agencies.
More importantly, the Guardians are people refugees can rely on to give independent advice and to provide unconditional friendship.
The Guardians often hear of needs that are not met by any governmental service and devise ways to obtain what is needed for the refugee. With other members of the Group, Guardians determine what can be funded by donations or what alternatives can be developed. Money in the past has been used for needs such as dental surgery, MUNI passes, and short-term rent subsidies.
Who Are Guardians?
Members and friends of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco participate in the Guardian Group in different ways.
The Guardian Group Committee Assigns refugee support tasks, raises funds, coordinates acceptance of refugees, plans strategy, worries.
Guardian Group Supporters Offer ad hoc support by providing rides, accompaniment to a specific appointment, and an invitation to a dinner/event. Donate time and/or money.
You Can Help Refugees with Your Time
You can assist in many ways with many different levels of time commitment.
Be a non-anxious, non-judgmental friend to a person without local family.
Help newcomers navigate Social Security, DVM, MUNI, and Costco.
Invite a refugee into your home for a dinner or to a cultural or sporting event.
Spread the word among your contacts about the need for inexpensive housing.
Coach a refugee in job search skills including resume writing, application completion, and interviewing.
You Can Help Refugees with Your Donations
Public agencies help refugees by providing them about $200 in food stamps and $300 cash assistance for eight months. This is not enough to live on.
The Guardian Group uses donations to:
Fill teeth instead of having them extracted. (Extraction is the only action the government will pay for)
Pay move-in costs in shared housing situations.
Buy transit passes
Pay for California ID cards
Support job searching activities by fixing a computer, paying for extra transportation, etc.
Etc., etc., and etc.!
Contact Us / Get Involved
Because of the US Government’s cut back on the number of refugees admitted to the country and the high cost of living in San Francisco, the Guardian Group decided in June, 2018 to suspend its regular meetings and work.
We have received no new clients in almost a year, and none are in the pipeline.
Rather than meeting regularly while having no new people to help, the Guardian Group has decided to support its existing clients who still qualify for support. We will meet if our committee finds out newcomers are coming, housing is available, or donations are flowing in.
We have volunteers ready to reactivate the group when new refugees arrive.
But, for the moment, we will check in, mentor, and care about the 18 people we have met as refugees and asylum seekers since 2011.
A description of the program, which are ready to reactivate, is below.