The face of Lancaster, PA refugee resettlement
Posted by Ann Corcoran on May 20, 2012
Only last week we had a widely read post about the problems in Lancaster, PA with an overload of refugees. A commenter from Lancaster to the US State Department May 1 meeting said that Church World Service (CWS) was bringing thousands of refugees to Lancaster. Then a commenter to that post said that was hogwash, there weren’t thousands being resettled in Lancaster. But, here CWS tells us about the person responsible for resettling “thousands upon thousands” in her home town of Lancaster.
Not many people can claim to have resettled thousands upon thousands of refugees to their hometown – but Sheila McGeehan can.
Since she began her work with the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program (CWS/IRP) 25 years ago, she has introduced refugees from all around the world to Lancaster, Pa. – the “tranquil, prosperous, safe, pretty” city she loves.
In turn, newcomers from Russia, Vietnam, Sudan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Burma, Bosnia, Iraq and numerous other countries have transformed this small city in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country into what McGeehan calls a “very cosmopolitan” community, population 55,000-plus.
“I don’t take credit. This is a great area for resettlement, and it would have happened without me,” said McGeehan, Director of the CWS/IRP Lancaster Office. “But it’s been very satisfying to contribute to making Lancaster more open and diverse.”
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