DENVER — No matter how many years pass, for someone who comes to the U.S. as a refugee, the experience is unforgettable.
"I came as a refugee myself when I was a kid and I know my heart goes out to them and I know the struggles that my family lived when they came here," said Lailey Hashem.
Hashem arrived to Colorado as a refugee from Afghanistan years ago. Now, she dedicates her time helping other refugees through her work at the North Metro Islamic Center and as a translator.
"There is times that you will cry with them as well while interpreting and there are times when you want to be support for them," said Hashem.
As thousands of people flee Afghanistan searching for a better life, they’re met with a whole new set of challenges when they arrive to the U.S.
"It is challenging at first because they have limited resources as to how much time they have in order to be self-sufficient or on their own," said co-founder and executive director of Project Worthmore, Frank Anello.
When refugees arrive in Colorado, most will be received at three main arrival agencies and will be given five years of assistance. After that, it’s all up to them.
"Where Project Worthmore comes into play is, we work in partnership with those resettlement agencies because we offer programs such as our dental clinic for their first dental visit. We work in partnership with Emily Griffith Technical School where we teach English as a second language out of our building," said Anello.
After arriving, refugees will be referred to different clinics for their first medical evaluations. Many of these clinics are already preparing for more refugees to come through their doors.
"We’ve been sort of anticipating that there is going to be higher numbers of arrivals, kind of just laying the foundations for getting ready and preparing yourself because there’s going to be a lot more referrals coming in," said care coordinator with Clinica Family Health Services, Andrea Vivas.
Families will then be given homes to live in but then have to find a way to fill them with basic necessities and other essential items, making it even more important for the community to get involved and donate.
"We have families come every week, about 10, 15 families come, and there are all these refugee families that are new arrivals and they come and they pick whatever they need for the house," said Hashem.
The North Metro Islamic Center in Northglenn is accepting donations. Some of the most needed items are diapers, school supplies, and household items.