The Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC), formerly known as the Somali Women And Children’s Association, was founded in 1993. We are a community-based, non-profit, grassroots human service agency that provides comprehensive services to refugees, asylees, and immigrants as well as the larger community. Our services include refugee resettlement, counseling, outreach and education, and other social services.
RIAC’s mission is to promote cultural, educational, and socioeconomic development in the refugee and immigrant community. To realize our mission, RIAC offers the following range of services to support successful resettlement and to promote self-sufficiency.
Current programs include:
- Refugee Resettlement: More than 200 refugees from different countries including Somalia, Congo, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Bhutan are resettled annually by RIAC in greater Boston and Worcester.
- Social Services: Post Resettlement Services help individuals and families with referrals for services, assistance with benefits, social adjustment counseling, interpretation and extended case work. Outreach to youth is a priority. Staff is a resource to local providers in particular those working in the Boston Public Schools and Boston Police Department.
- Citizenship Services: Boston’s staff assists qualified individuals with the US naturalization application process. Tutors assist preparing individual to take the Naturalization test.
- Community Education: Events, forums, groups and individual counseling enable the Somali community and others to access critical information on a range of subjects. In addition, RIAC hosts a World Refugee Day event in Roxbury inviting families, individuals, city officials and advocates to join in the celebration.
- Community Counseling: Under the direction of the program’s psychiatrist, a team of licensed social workers provide individual and group counseling services. Case workers and Social Work graduate students assist providing case work and other support services to clients who are receiving counseling services.
- ESOL Classes: Adult ESOL classes are held at RIAC’s Boston office. Volunteers teach these classes and also provide one-on-one tutoring. Worcester ESOL Navigator program assists individuals enroll in one of Worcester’s Adult ESOL programs’ classes.
- Youth Services: A range of activities are offered to youth including after- school homework help and sports programs.