Hearts & Homes for Refugees to kick off Welcoming Week 2020 with online event Sunday sharing stories, ways to act


Editor’s note: This press release was provided by Hearts & Homes for Refugees.

Pelham, NY (September 9, 2020) – At 6pm on Sunday, September 13, Hearts & Homes for Refugees (https://www.heartsandhomesforrefugees.org) is kicking off Welcoming Week 2020 with an online event to celebrate the welcoming movement in the county. Hearts & Homes is Westchester’s leading grassroots humanitarian organization partnering with U.S. State Department-designated agencies to welcome, assist and advocate for refugees.

Local leaders including volunteers, elected officials, and refugees themselves, will share their stories, support and ways to take action. Select participants include White Plains Mayor Tom Roach and Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, along with several refugees who have made Westchester County their home.

Hearts & Homes is the leader of the Westchester Refugee Initiative (WRI), a network that brings together organizations, volunteer groups and individuals from across the county, in support of our refugee neighbors. WRI members including the Interfaith Council for New Americans – Westchester, Neighbors for Refugees, Rivertowns for Refugees, St. John’s Lutheran Church Refugee team and the Woodlands-Bet Am Shalom Refugee team, will join Hearts & Homes in sharing their experiences and beliefs. WRI partners Catholic Charities and HIAS will share background on refugees in the U.S. and ideas for advocacy.

“Since 2017, we have been responding to the global refugee crisis by taking action locally,” said Kathie O’Callaghan, founder of Hearts & Homes for Refugees. “Our work includes providing assistance to refugees and asylees, educating others about refugees, and sharing opportunities to advocate for refugees. We look forward to Welcoming Week each year, and are excited to hear from so many people involved with the welcoming movement right here in Westchester.”

Hearts & Homes is also a member of Welcoming America’s national network, which believes that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors who are vital to the success of our communities and shared future. Welcoming Week is an annual, national event to celebrate the movement of inclusion. Welcoming Week runs September 12-20 and this year’s theme is Creating Home Together.

To join the Hearts & Homes kick-off Welcoming Week celebration on

Sunday, September 13, 6pm-6:45pm please register in advance at:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting.

As Welcoming Week continues, Hearts & Homes will join Neighbors for Refugees in hosting a legal workshop on the rights of refugees and asylum seekers on Tuesday, September 15th from 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Legal experts Sophia Goring-Piard from Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, and Cecilia Lopez from City Bar Justice Center (a pro bono affiliate of the NYC Bar Association) will discuss important legal issues impacting refugees, asylum seekers, and other types of immigrants. Goring-Piard is also representing AKA Zeta Nu Omega Chapter, as head of the Global Impact Initiative. AKA Zeta Nu Omega Chapter is a friend of the Westchester Refugee Initiative and participant in Hearts & Homes’ Helping Hands program.

Register here for the legal workshop:


There will be an Arabic translator for this event.