What We Do

City of Refuge serves the refugee and immigrant families in our community with a variety of unique services that fall under three categories: Basic Need Programs, Counseling, and Professional Development.

Basic Needs Fulfillment

When refugees are first placed in Columbia, Missouri, they rarely have anything other than the clothes on their backs. Through our Basic Need Programs, we help refugees access food, clothing, housing as well as teach them where to grocery shop, how to use public transportation, and other skills to help them recover from their journey.

School Navigation

Our School Navigation Program is designed to bridge the gaps between school resources and our diverse refugee population. Our School Liaison partners with Columbia Public Schools and other Missouri school districts working with refugee and immigrant families. Their focus is to help families build strong relationships with teachers and school leaders. They will also help families navigate school enrollment, common educational expectations, and connect families with higher education professionals to support students with post-secondary education opportunities. This program will provide vital support to ensure multiple pathways remain open for refugee children, thereby further supporting their families’ economic well-being.


Most, if not all, refugees experience trauma to some degree because of civil unrest, war, persecution or displacement. We have found that real friendship with our new neighbors allows for much healing to take place. In addition to this, we seek to create space and opportunity for refugees to gather together – to celebrate their own cultures, speak in their native languages, and be understood in the context they have come from. City of Refuge also provides counseling in a variety of ways, including referrals to PTSD/Trauma Counseling Services in our community from Licensed Counselors as needed. All of these services are vital to helping those who were heavily impacted by trauma to recover and move forward.

Professional Development

Many refugees and immigrants come from backgrounds that don’t necessarily translate over to the work that is available in Mid-Missouri. In order to help the refugees and immigrants in our community thrive, we offer services to help them develop professionally. From how to apply for jobs to learning tangible, marketable skills, we teach them so that they can find work, support their families, and become successful members of our community.

There is always a way you can get involved in the different services offered by City of Refuge. To learn more about specific classes and events, or to offer your unique skill set to help the refugees placed in our community, please contact us today.