Get involved; Samaritas help refugees settle in the U.S.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – A month ago, two Grand Rapids men, who emigrated from a Tanzanian refugee camp into the United States, were severely injured in a car accident. Emanuel Kitulo, 22, and David Kitulo, 18, both suffered traumatic brain injuries following the crash.

Their recovery has been better than the doctor could have predicted, but their greatest struggle has been emotional, as they lost their long-time friend in the accident. Although they are both recovering well, they are still unable to return to work.

In order to get financial help, the family has been working with Samaritas, a local organization that helps refugees settle in the U.S.

Chris Cavannaugh, who works for the New Americans Program at Samaritas, and Joel Lautenbach, the executive director of development at Samaritas, sat down with Maranda to discuss how the impactful work they are doing with refugees.

Samaritas works with an abundance of refugees from many different countries. They help with the resettlement process, which includes: providing counseling, finding housing, enrolling kids in school, searching for jobs, and engaging them in the community. The U.S. has a co-sponsorship model with refugees, meaning they expect local community members to walk alongside them to help with their transition to America.

Samaritas is looking for community members to partner with them in their efforts to assist refugees in becoming self-sufficient. For more information visit

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