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Refugee Community Services

Elder Program

Transitioning to life in the U.S. is very difficult for elder refugees.

In the Des Moines refugee community, some elder individuals lack literacy in their own language. As they study English, some may also be learning to write their name for the first time.

Without the English language skills, cultural knowledge or transportation needed to acclimate to their new community, many elder refugees often face isolation in their homes.

We partner with individuals ages 60+ to foster community connections and improve quality of life. Our initiatives include:

  • English as a Second Language classes
  • Home visits from native speakers to answer questions and provide resources
  • Field trips to places such as the Blank Park Zoo or Science Center of Iowa
  • Educational presentations from service providers such as the Des Moines police and fire departments
  • Activity classes with social activities such as exercise, crafts and games
  • Special projects such as our photography group for refugee women

Referrals can be made to this program for people of refugee status age 60 and up.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Wuertz
Director, Refugee Community Services

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Watch a photovoice video on the Elder program.
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