Champions of Change

Peter Daniel Vogelaar

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Peter is President of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR). For over 200 years, Utica, New York, a city of 60,000 has attracted immigrants and refugees. Refugees have been resettled to the region by MVRCR, one of the largest resettlement agencies in the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service network. MVRCR grew out of the inspiration of Roberta Douglas whose efforts began with the resettlement of a single Vietnamese man through Catholic Charities in Syracuse. Since its inception, the Center has assisted refugees from more than 31 countries, including Bosnia, Cambodia, Czechoslovakia, Haiti, Hungary, Laos, Poland, Romania, the former Soviet Union, Vietnam, Sudan, Somalia Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, China, Somalia, Burma and others.

MVRCR is focused on enabling individuals and communities to promote and sustain their cultural identity. The center is collaborating with the Mohawk Valley Latino Association (MVLA) and the African Alliance as they work to solidify their organizations within the community. MVRCR offers these groups and others an opportunity to share facilities and services that will provide the necessary tools to build long-term relationships in their respective ethnic communities and in the Utica community.

MVRCR is also striving to increase access to medical assistance to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) individuals within the community. We recently completed contractual agreements with Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center to provide interpretation-translation services that will enhance the support system for Utica’s growing immigrant population. These services provide Limited English Proficiency patients critical access to medical services MVRCR remains a nationally recognized leader in refugee services. Today the refugee population being resettled is increasingly diverse.

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