When we first opened our Community Resource Center, we had a vision for this place.
We wanted it to be a gathering space for recently resettled refugees and immigrants. We wanted it to provide a warm, welcoming “soft landing” for all who would come inside. We knew that despite Missoula working towards being a welcoming city, it could still feel foreign, strange, and possibly even scary to arrive in a place so different and unfamiliar.
We hoped the Center would be where refugees and immigrants would come to share their successes and their challenges. That it would be a place they’d feel comfortable coming for support in any of their endeavors.
This vision still holds true. The Community Resource Center has become our inviting living room that brings us together as extended family.
Thanks to your partnership, we’re able to be dynamic and responsive in the ways we support refugees and immigrants who come through our doors. How we create a “soft landing” for families is in direct response to needs brought to us in this space.
Soft Landing’s long-term assistance for refugees and immigrants, and our work in helping Missoula be informed and supportive, is as important as ever.
The reality is that our country — and even our town — have a long way to go in becoming welcoming to all. There is still so much more good we can do together, so we can’t stop trying.
Will you help sustain the client-driven support that Soft Landing provides for refugees and immigrants in Missoula?
Let me tell you about Esther, one of the many friends whose presence at the Center embodies the vision we have for it.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Esther comes from a family of seven. They were forced to flee their home when she was five. Most of her memories are of Burundi, where her family sought refuge for 15 years until they were resettled in Missoula two years ago.
Through huge sacrifice, her family lives in safety now. Yet, Esther misses the sights, smells, noise, and loved ones back home. At first she worried about making friends or that Missoula would be too different, but she is working hard to make her future what she wants it to be. “ Right now… I can say that my life is different than when I came here. Because I have a job, I go to the Missoula College, I have new friends…”
Wonderfully, she has been visiting us almost daily to share exciting milestones and find support in her endeavors.
From earning her driver’s license to navigating college enrollment, finding her very own first apartment, and booking modeling gigs – all of the things she has accomplished have been born of her own heart and grit, but also nurtured and lifted up by her visits to the Center.
“I need to go to school because I have my future in my two hands. I always think about my future. What I want to do after school,” Esther told me recently. Her resilience and determination are strengths we see in many of the refugees and immigrants who walk through our doors.
This has been a challenging year. We know that challenges can also bring about creativity and opportunity- we get to see this first-hand in our interactions with families that visit our Center.
We can see that in a world of uncertainty, the path forward is the important and powerful work we can do together with the communities we serve.
Will you continue your support of this critical work with a year-end gift that provides refugees and immigrants in Missoula with a welcoming, supportive “soft landing”? Any amount you can give is appreciated. We can’t do this without you.
In love and gratitude,
Executive Director, Soft Landing Missoula
P.S. — Give today so that Missoula’s newest neighbors have access to a community of support and the opportunities that Soft Landing Missoula offers.