In celebration of adding our newest Colorado retail location, we teamed up with International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Denver chapter and their We Can Do It! (WCDI!) program to support recently arrived refugee women connect with their new community.
Since our first month as a company in April 2014, the IRC and Cotopaxi have partnered to support refugees from around the world by providing access to medication and supplies for families, job training, and education. We know that it is absolutely critical to take care of immediate needs, and keep displaced people safe and healthy. Once individuals seeking refuge are safe and resettled, it’s also important to set them up for success with the tools they will need to live in their new home. This can mean financial literacy and job training, but often it’s not as simple as learning new skills or networking.
Emerging from regions devastated by prolonged conflict, violence, and displacement, refugees and other vulnerable immigrant groups have commonly experienced tremendous grief and loss. Often, they have endured extraordinary circumstances in their home countries that can affect psychological wellbeing, increase vulnerability to mental health problems, and make it more difficult to adapt to life in a new country. Although the opportunities in the U.S. are plentiful, the isolation, lack of English skills, and other barriers women in particular may face, can make it challenging to rebuild their lives. The IRC in Denver’s Psychosocial Support Services (PSS) provides strengths-based support for refugees facing cultural adjustment challenges as they strive to stabilize and integrate.
The WCDI! program fosters resiliency and improves both mental and physical health for participants and their families. Women meet once per week, with each week’s material based on a different theme within the overarching goal of holistic wellbeing and psychosocial support. Different mediums and tools are used by session facilitators, such as art, movement, music, and horticulture. In addition, heavy emphasis is placed on digital literacy skills and ensuring women have access to devices and internet in order to stay in touch with the program staff, as well as enhance these necessary skills for all aspects of their life. Each year as a finale to the program series, women participate in a showcase event to highlight the skills they embraced over the course of the year and share their personal stories. Since the program's inception in 2018, more than 55 women and their families from 12 countries have been directly impacted by this program.
In Fall 2021 Cotopaxi provided 18 women with warm winter gear to assist with the year's theme of using outdoor activities to foster connection and wellness. We could not be more proud to not only work with a partner like IRC, but also to welcome these women and their families to Colorado.
Here’s to many more outdoor adventures to come!