We know that we are at our best when we are motivated by openness, compassion, and opportunity for others.
— Mary Poole, Soft Landing Missoula Executive Director


Soft Landing Missoula (SLM) helps Missoula, Montana, to be a welcoming, supportive and informed community that can assist refugees to integrate and thrive.

SLM is committed to providing community education and outreach to make this endeavor as positive as possible for Missoulians and the refugees joining our community.

SLM provides ongoing support to refugees by helping them meet their physical, spiritual, and social needs as they settle into our community.

Soft Landing Missoula: 6 Areas of Focus

1) Education and Outreach

  • Presentations to the community

  • SLM Presents- lecture series

2) Adult and Child Language Support Services

  • Night and weekend Adult ELL classes

  • Academic tutoring and reading buddy program for kids

3) Transportation Program

  • Securing bikes and equipment. Offering bike use, safety and maintenance classes, and orientation to Missoula's commuter trails.

  • Bus orientation with a goal of self sufficiency.

  • Driver's education course offered to prepare willing participants for their driving exam.

4) Volunteer Organization and Training

  • Partnership with the IRC for family mentor teams

  • Recruitment, training, and management for SLM programs

5) Community Resource Center

  • Bringing Missoulians and Refugees together

  • Location to run SLM programing

6) In-kind donations organization and distribution

  • Partnering with local churches

  • Items for home set-up and clothing drives (seasonal)



  • Opened an office / community center where refugee families, volunteers and staff gather, meetings are held, classes are taught (English, drivers ed, computers), and easily allows community members to donate money and items.
  • Celebrated a First Thanksgiving, a joint project with the IRC, that provided a wonderful community welcome for refugee families and native Missoulians. We sold over 200 tickets for the event!
  • Established the lecture series Soft Landing Presents. In 2016, over 500 people attended this series which included talks on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Refugee Resettlement in Missoula, Montana.
  • Conducted an ally training in which 40+ members of our community engaged in the "Building an Inclusive Community" training offered by NCBI Missoula.


  • Collected donations to fully furnish apartments for our first refugee families.
  • Assisted the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in re-opening a refugee resettlement office in Missoula, Montana.
  • Organized and co-sponsored a “Stand Together Montana” rally in support of refugees and an inclusive community. More than 1,000 people attended.
  • Engaged with various groups of the opposition, including elected officials, to share basic information on refugee resettlement.
  • Participated in the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
  • Traveled across Montana to give talks and seminars on refugees and community organizing and activism.


Photography courtesy of the International Rescue Committee