Has it really been 2 weeks or did I just blink? Wow- I am going to keep this one brief. There are a few things that I do really want to share with you all though...
Our 4th family arrived last night- Yay! Our mentor teams are really stepping it up to help families and we are learning so much as we go! We always knew there would be a lot of things to think about when helping a family make the adjustment from a refugee camp to life in Missoula, but wow- I'm talking LOTS of things! I appreciate the ingenuity and patience our volunteers have with us as we continue to work out kinks and build our program! I am also grateful to the amazing counselors and employees with MCPS who are taking wonderful care of their newest students and also providing us council on how we can continue to collaborate to ease the transition for the kiddos.
A few of us spent yesterday afternoon and evening getting one of the previously arrived families into their permanent housing, and it was so amazing to see the kids make fast friends with the other kids that live nearby as they played on borrowed scooters ;) There is space and grass and nice neighbors. They are exhausted but very, very happy. Great work IRC gals and the family mentor team!! Thanks to all of the folks who have stepped up to help us with our initial housing challenges- we are on track now and will continue to work out these kinks that come with building a new program.
I am really excited for our event on Tuesday night in which we will take a closer look at the Congo and try to understand a bit of the history that has caused the refugee situation in East Africa, as well as a look at the culture and lives of people from the Congo. There will also be a talk and photo story of life in the East African refugee camps where Missoula's newest residents had been living for 15+ years. It is going to be informative and inspiring and I will see you all there! Check out the poster below and feel free to share this free event with your friends and neighbors on facebook.
Now is time for another installment of Volunteer of the Month!!!! Greta Bates!!!! This amazing woman has been with us since early spring and has been essential in our basic operations since then. On top of all of the things we put on her plate as she helps us to gather and organize a resource list, she has taken on organizing our Bike program and partnership with Free Cycles AND is the leader of one of our family mentor teams! This lady is non-stop and always smiling. Thank you Greta for your commitment and obvious love of what we are doing.
I continue to be in awe of Missoula's commitment to kindness, compassion and opportunity for others! This was evidenced in the City Council voting to pass a resolution this past Monday to participate in "Welcoming Communities"- a White House initiative that highlights cities like ours, who have taken an inward and outward look at how we can do our best for our immigrant and refugee community members! Thank you once again to our elected officials for your support!