In this “Member Agency Spotlight”, we want to acquaint you with these agencies, what services they provide to our community, and ways that you can get involved.
We had a Q&A with Meg Eubank, Executive Director of Welcoming the Stranger.
Mission: Welcoming the Stranger provides free educational opportunities to immigrants and refugees in the United States in response to Jesus’ instruction to his disciples that they should always welcome the strangers in their midst (Matt. 25:35). We provide free classes in English, computer skills, and citizenship preparation to adult immigrants and refugees in Lower Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia. Classes are offered to all students regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.
Students in class at WTS
What is your name and position at your organization and how long have you worked there?
My name is Meg Eubank and I am the Executive Director at Welcoming the Stranger. I have worked with Welcoming the Stranger since 2011 in the various roles of Program Coordinator and teacher, Board Member, and since 2015, Executive Director.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have a broad range of experience working in the field of education with everyone from preschool students to college students, but my work with Welcoming the Stranger has been the most rewarding and impactful position I’ve ever held in my life. Outside of Welcoming the Stranger, I’ve also dabbled in fine art photography and have shown my art in exhibits and publications both locally, nationally, and internationally.
What does your organization do and what is your mission?
Welcoming the Stranger is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves adult immigrants and refugees. We provide free English, computer skills, and citizenship preparation classes and connect people to resources like healthcare, jobs, housing, food, legal help, childcare, and more. During each of our twelve week terms a year, we work with over 300 immigrants and refugees living in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. Our name is inspired by the Biblical passage Matthew 25:35, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.”
How long have you been in operation in Bucks County?
Welcoming the Stranger has been in operation in Bucks County since 1999. Since then, we have served over 3,500 immigrants and refugees from 100 different countries.
What are some programs and services that you offer?
Welcoming the Stranger offers free classes in English (ESL or English as a Second Language), Computer Skills, and Citizenship Preparation. ESL classes cover reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and American culture and etiquette. Computer classes teach students essential computer skills like Microsoft Office Suite, Internet usage, and computer maintenance. The Citizenship classes help prepare students for the US Naturalization exam from the application process, to learning the content, to taking the test.
What are some ways that members of the community can get involved with your organization?
We welcome members of the community to join our volunteer team for classroom teaching, event planning, outreach, administrative help, and fundraising. The local community can also attend our events and join our email list and follow us on social media to learn about updates and share in the celebration of our students’ successes. Please visit www.welcomingthestranger.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 702-3445 to become involved.
Why is being a member agency with The United Way of Bucks County important to your team?
The United Way is a wonderful and well-established community partner. We look forward to the closer connection, networking, and resource opportunities that being a member agency will provide.
What are some of your goals for 2018?
Welcoming the Stranger has experienced incredible growth in our student body in recent years (our student enrollment has increased 146% since 2015). We are dedicated to growing our program in a strong, sustainable way in order to keep up with the ever-increasing need of families in our community.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you for your partnership!