Jericho Road works with immigrants, refugees, and native born persons in financial need with their health, language skills, financial skills and more. When people are in need, Jericho Road answers. They’ve steadily been expanding services throughout the city of Buffalo and the clientele in need continues to grow. This Friday, we’re proud to sponsor Crafter Hours. It’s an opportunity for you to financially support their work while engaging in crafts, games, music and beer. We hope you’ll check it out, meet some new people, and be a part of Buffalo’s tremendous response to its neighbors – old and new.
– – Here’s more from our friend Mary Schaefer, Communication and Events Coordinator at JHRC:
It seems like everyone knows Ulises. When he walks down the street near Jericho Road Community Health Center’s Barton Street clinic carrying a grass trimmer and other landscaping tools, people usually yell out his name for a quick hello or rush over to give him a bear hug. He has a big smile and a friendly demeanor, and he’s made many friends in Buffalo since arriving on a cold December day in 2015.
Ulises fled his home in El Salvador with his then-teenaged son after local political leaders threatened his life. They made their way to Jericho Road’s Vive shelter on Buffalo’s East Side, which provides temporary housing and legal assistance to people seeking asylum in the U.S. or Canada. Ulises sought to secure asylum in Canada twice, and both times he was denied. His son was allowed to cross the border, but was not permitted to re-enter the U.S. for two years. During that time the only way the pair could see each other was by meeting at Niagara Falls—father on the American side and son on the Canadian. Using binoculars, they tried to catch sight of each other across the vast, churning chasm that stretched between them.
During their two-year separation, Ulises participated in 716 Ministries’ Work Readiness Program, an intensive, four-week job training course. Eventually, he moved out of Vive into an apartment, though Vive’s legal team continued to work with him on his asylum case and helped him apply for working papers. After receiving approval to work, Ulises joined the Safety Team at Vive before being hired full-time with 716 Ministries. Now, he helps maintain buildings and works on landscaping and construction projects throughout Buffalo.
This month, Ulises received an incredible gift. His son was finally granted permission to re-enter the U.S. for short visits, and he surprised his father with a surprise visit. Ulises was eager to share video of the visit with all his friends at Jericho Road. In it, Ulises and his son hug each other tightly as overjoyed relatives join the hug, laughing and crying.
There were many, many steps in the journey that brought Ulises to where he is now, and the team at Vive supported him throughout the process. Ulises is just one example of the many different kinds of people that find safety and legal support at Jericho Road’s Vive shelter. Vive is the largest shelter of its kind in the country, serving thousands of asylum seekers from more than 180 countries. For over thirty years, Vive has been a safe refuge for people with nowhere else to turn.
In this City of Good Neighbors, Vive always keeps its porch light on. If you want to support their good work, you can invest with a financial gift (jrchc.org/donate) or with material goods (check the wishlist or call ahead to know what they need right now – jrchc.org/vive/wishlist) or come out to their Crafter Hours fundraiser on Friday, October 4 to make fun crafts, hear live music, eat delicious food, and support Vive and Jericho Road’s other community programs.