- Our Work
- Full Reports from EPID
- Facts About Immigrant NJ
Building Relationships to Better Serve Immigrants: Overcoming Obstacles, Challenges, and Barriers
This conference aims to increase collaboration and communication between organizations, agencies, and frontline workers in order to better serve Central New Jersey’s diverse immigrant population. Through the sharing of information on promising practices, providers and advocates will learn about, and discuss, the unique challenges immigrants face in gaining access to healthcare, education, and legal representation, and what is being done to overcome those obstacles. Conference participants will gain insight into the various services available to immigrants, methods for improving outreach to culturally diverse groups, along with opportunities to network with others in the immigrant serving community.
9:00-9:15 Welcoming Remarks
9:15-9:45 Keynote Address by Dr. DeForest Soaries, Jr.
Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., serves as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey. Dr. Soaries was the Secretary State for New Jersey in 1999-2002.
9:45-10:45 Panel Discussion on Challenges/Barriers in addressing immigrant needs:
Moderator: Steve Jobin, CEO, Raritan Bay YMCA
Participants: Bruce Rothenberg, Principal, Parsons Elementary School in North Brunswick
Dave Harris, Executive Director, Greater New Brunswick Day Care Council, Marien Casillas-Pabelon, Executive Director, New Labor
11:00-12:30 Workshop Breakout Session 1
*When registering participants will choose two of the workshops below; Breakout Session 1 workshops will repeat during Breakout Session 2.
A) Naturalization and Legal Services- this workshop will provide participants with knowledge of various immigration processes, including naturalization, detention, deportation, and the social ramification of these issues. Presenters will discuss the local services available to immigrants dealing with legal matters, service eligibility requirements, and what practitioners can do to assist clients in these regards.
B) Education- this workshop examines the impact of immigration on the education system. Presenters will discuss the challenges and opportunities involved with educating immigrant children, with a focus on early-grade-learning. The workshop will highlight promising practices for increasing parental involvement, collaborating with community and faith-based organizations, and the development of culturally appropriate curriculum, in order to improve educational outcomes.
C) ESL and Health Literacy - this workshop takes a broad approach to explore the literacy needs of immigrants, including health, nutrition, and language literacy. Presenters will provide information on programs working to support immigrants with ESL training and competence in a variety of areas from pre-natal care and child development to healthy diet and exercise. The workshop will provide participants with an awareness of the ESL services available to immigrants and how to expand current programs to include a focus on health and wellness.
D) Access and Outreach- this workshop examines the cultural and structural barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing services and how providers are working to remove those obstacles to create welcoming environments where clients feel safe. Issues explored will include: overcoming stigma, gaining trust, and increasing community knowledge of services. Presenters will also discuss access and outreach to vulnerable populations, including victims of domestic violence and undocumented migrants, across several ethnic groups.
12:30-1:30 Networking Lunch
1:30-2:45 Workshop Breakout Session 2
2:45-3:00 Concluding Remarks