Commissioners Approve English as a Second Language Initiative to Benefit Ukrainian Refugees

St. Joseph Church pastor, Fr. Rick Tomasone speaks during a community meeting for Ukraine . in July of 2022.

WARREN, Pa. – The Warren County commissioners approved a proposal on Wednesday that will aid Ukrainian refugees who make their way to the area.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the commissioners approved a contribution of $9,100 to the English as a Second Language initiative.

The request was made by the First Lutheran Church of Warren, which has been at the forefront of the Ukrainian refugee initiative.

A meeting in June at the First Lutheran Church drew a number of people from the community that was interested in hearing about how they could get involved with the effort.

“The $9,100 will come out of our general fund,” said County Finance Director Lisa Hagberg. “In the meantime, we are going to look for grant money to sustain it.”

Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said it was an important opportunity to get involved.

“We kind of helped kicked off this group and hadn’t done much in the way of supporting them financially,” Kafferlin said. “I feel like this is an obligation. I feel like this is strategic to the long-term viability of the county to be open to people of all nationalities, especially refugees.

“The $9,100 is a relatively minor amount of money considering the impact it will have. In my opinion, this fits into what we are doing.”

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston feels that it is a worthwhile endeavor as well.

“I think this is a fantastic program,” Eggleston said. “The notion that we can take people who are in a situation and can help them assimilate into our community is a good thing. I applaud Lisa (Hagberg), Ben (Kafferlin), and everyone involved for all of their efforts.”