FIRM serves the needs of over 6500 refugees in the Fresno area of the California San Joaquin Valley, primarily refugees of Southeast Asian, Slavic, and African origin. We’ve developed a number of program areas that we focus on as an organization. .
We offer several programs that meet both the physical and mental health needs of the refugee community. Members of the refugee community suffer from considerable mental health challenges stemming from their traumatic experiences and anxiety. We do our best to be a resource to the community for support, referrals and a center of hope as it concerns the vast health needs of the refugee population in Fresno.
Education is an issue of great importance to our organization and to the refugee community. We believe at FIRM that this requires work as early as birth that must continue all the way through high school and into college. To us, education also involves the parents as much as it does the child. FIRM works hard in a variety of programs to see that children from the refugee community in Fresno have academic success!
As an organization, we believe strongly that direct services to the refugee community must be paired with a strategic advocacy program in order to not only create temporary solutions, but lasting, systematic change. Advocacy is also culturally challenging in many refugee communities, so we work hard to engage in community organizing efforts that build a strong team of community advocates from each people group we serve.
Due to language barriers, many people from the refugee community simply do not learn about community resources, services or other important information that would benefit themselves and their families. We work to ensure that communities such as the Hmong, Laotian, Russian/Ukrainian and African populations in Fresno receive pertinent information in their own language and are assisted in navigating systems to access resources they may need. We know that this is challenging, but necessary for a thriving and healthy refugee community!
Our mission at FIRM is “Sharing Christ’s love to build communities of hope with New Americans”, which we believe can be accomplished in many different ways. One of these ways is through the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving the refugee community that are Christians. There are several ways that we do this and we are constantly praying for and seeking new opportunities to do this in our work with churches, individuals and the greater refugee community of Fresno.