Rancho San Diego Library's Sa'adah program helps refugees

The Sa'adah series of programs, funded by the California State Library, took place at the Rancho San Diego Library from July 2014 to June 2015 to meet the needs of refugees in America. Millions have fled war, terror, and religious discrimination in the Middle East since the 1980s. Refugees face many stresses when coming to the United States. Adults have difficulty learning the language and culture and have trouble finding jobs with their limited English. They need incentive to get up in the morning and leave their homes to engage in society. Older adults feel unvalued by their families and society. Children acculturate faster than their parents and need to let out their frustrations in a positive manner. Refugees need help with stress management and communication skills. The non-Middle Eastern community needs to learn to accept their Middle Eastern neighbors.

These programs helped refugees be safer, healthier, prosperous, and better educated. The series included a socialization component (Game Day), a language component (citizenship and ESL), a healthy living component (Healthy Living/Express Art), and a program to help the non-Middle Eastern community accept Middle Eastern customers (Finale). On Game Days, customers came to the library to play Bingo, Scrabble, Pictionary, talk, and forget about their problems. During the Citizenship Workshops, customers practiced their English and learned about the United States so that they can become participating citizens. As a Grand Finale, customers celebrated Middle Eastern culture and exposed the non-Middle Eastern population to Middle Eastern culture. To date, the total program attendance has been 925.