I can't believe we are already over halfway through May! I am loving this beautiful spring and especially loving seeing it through the eyes of my toddler as he discovers splashing in mud, throwing rocks in the creek and running full tilt across the soft grass to flop down on his belly with huge giggles. This time, and these new activities for us, make me even more excited and thankful for all we have accomplished lately and the certainty that soon we will be able to share these things with children (and adults) who haven't had the freedom to just flop down in the grass and gaze at the clouds for a long while.
SLM has some really exciting things coming up in anticipation of welcoming refugees into our city soon! First, we are hosting an "Ally" training- Building An Inclusive Community- on June 11th from 9a-noon and June 15th from 6p-9p. It is a 2-part training series that will be facilitated by the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) Missoula. The series will be an opportunity for community members to come together to increase understanding about the impact of oppression, expand strategies for effective communication and rapport, gain skills for effective leadership, collaboration and advocacy in the community; and to set individual and organizational goals for ensuring a welcoming and inclusive environment for registered refugees coming to Montana via the International Rescue Committee. The cost is $40 and there is a limited number of spots available. We do have a few scholarships available if the cost is prohibitive for your participation. Please email me to sign up! I think this will be an amazing and critical piece to advance the conversation in our community in order to create the most welcoming environment we can for refugees in Missoula.
We have also initiated a Donation Drive with hopes of fully furnishing 3 apartments for our first few families that will hopefully be arriving by late summer/early fall. We have many folks in the community excited to create a lovely home for these families and are especially thankful to those who have stepped up to offer leadership and energy to this project! If this is something that interests you, or you have an item or two you would like to donate, please email Molly (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are looking for donated storage space for the larger items (beds, couches, etc..) that we will be collecting, so please contact us if you have any thoughts or leads on storage space. We are also preliminarily looking for office/community center space if anyone has a lead on this or suggestions for us ;)
Many of you know this already (thank you for the interest!) - We are working to put together an advisory board as we work towards receiving our own 501(c)3 non-profit status. If this interests you and you would like to be considered, please contact me and I can send you information on how to "apply". We are asking that a "Letter of Interest" along with 3 references be submitted by May 27th and we will start conducting interviews in early June for a decision by the end of June.
In other updates, the IRC has now posted the two positions for a full-time caseworker and part-time finance manager. They would love to fill these positions locally and I encourage you to apply!
So, lots of great things going on! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and can find time to enjoy at least a few moments with loved ones outside in this beautiful spring season!