“Aurora is the only city in the state of Colorado and one of the few in the country with a comprehensive citywide strategy to address the issue of immigrant integration,” said Ricardo Gambetta, manager of the Oﬀice of International and Immigrant Aﬀairs.
Through the Natural Helpers Program, immigrants gain access to resources such as social services, information on community organizations and networking for better job opportunities. The Natural Helpers Program is one of the innovative projects listed in the city of Aurora’s Immigrant Integration Plan.
VEC trains leaders from the immigrant and refugee communities to act as community navigators and information resources to their communities.
In 2021, VEC’s Natural Helpers contributed over 21,000 service hours across VEC programs:
Vaccine Equity Clinics: 30 Natural Helpers gave 16,500 service hours. Impact: 3,200 shots administered, $80K in incentive funds awarded
Left Behind Workers Fund: 15 Natural Helpers gave 529 service hours. Impact: 269 individuals screened, $375K awarded to 250 people ans $226K in rental assistance awarded to 173 households
Low Wage Workers Fund: 15 Natural Helpers gave 300 service hours. Impact $450K awarded to 300 people
Village Pantry: 17 Natural Helpers gave 1,700 service hours. Impact: 700+ families served weekly (6000 individuals/week, and 12,000 lbs of food distributed
Village Farm at Stanley: 6 Natural Helpers gave 2,392 service hours. Impact: 2,400 lbs of produce harvested and distributed through the Village Pantry
Overall Impact: 21,421 service hours. 10,000 people reached. $1,131,000 awarded