As I was stumbling out of the office today, in a rush to reunite with my kiddos at the end of a busy day, I couldn't help but smile as I walked past room after room of refugee students hard at work studying with volunteer tutors (Shyla- Our AMAZING practicum student built this program that serves 15+ kiddos twice a week from SCRATCH! She is incredible!). I had to dodge a few balls from the kiddos who were taking a break from studying to unwind with an impromptu game of "using a youth basketball to play soccer in tight indoor spaces while not trying to knock pictures off of the walls". My walk towards the back door then lead me by the father of the first refugee family who arrived to Missoula in August 2016, shepherding a brand new family that arrived just in the last couple weeks as they were looking through items (that had been so so generously donated by our community) for their new apartment. By the time I high-fived another neighbor, smooched a kiddo good bye and got out the back door, I was no longer just smiling- I was grinning ear-to-ear, absolutely in awe of what we have created here.
The last couple weeks, we have also been honored to have been a part of several wonderful events with incredible partners. Our timely lecture at UM (live streamedby MCAT) in partnership with Climate Smart Missoula and the JRPC looked at howclimate change is driving human migration. Over the next 2 days, we saw this topic being covered by a few major news outlets, like here and here (Trendsetters, I know!). We had so much fun, and full bellies, at the Celebrate Islam Week Banquet put on by SALAM that we were so lucky to help sponsor this year. At this event, we got to meet an incredible woman, Asmaa Albukaie. Forced to flee after the kidnapping and subsequent murder of her husband, Asmaa and her two boys were the first Syrian refugees to arrive to Boise after the start of the Syrian civil war. There is so much I could say here about her amazing and inspiring talk, but our biggest take home were the photos she showed of her "American mom and dad" and her "American sisters" who got this single mother through the most trying times of resettling in a new home and truly became her family. We looked around the room and saw the new mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers holding hands with many of Missoula's refugee families and again, I KNEW this community was doing something amazing. A huge thanks goes out to the incredible Clem Work, Soft Landing board member, for finding and arranging both of these speakers- no small task! We love you!
Lastly, you guys showed up in droves for our new food adventure, United We Eat @home this week! One email I received before the pick up time was even over said it best, "We (my 11-year old son and I) just picked up and ate our first United We Eat meals—best meal I’ve had in Missoula in years. The boy loved it too! Wow! Our compliments to the chef. That was outstanding and I can’t wait for the next one!". If you didn't already get an email in your inbox today with the new menu- please sign up if you don't want to miss out!
OK! That's it from me! I hope you all have lovely weekends and can take advantage of every sliver of sunshine thrown our way.
In love and gratitude,
ED Soft Landing Missoula
United We Eat
The first week of United We Eat @home was an amazing success! Sign up here if you haven't already so you don't miss your chance at an amazing and affordable meal cooked weekly by refugee and immigrant chefs!
We are also in need of volunteers in the kitchen for this new program! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if this sounds up your alley and you have availability Tuesdays and Wednesdays!
People, Partners, Programs
Lawrence & Argyle is an apparel company based out of Chicago that celebrates America's immigrant heritage. They partner with non-profit organizations throughout the year and we are lucky enough to be chosen for this quarter!
If you purchase any of their apparel, 50% of the proceeds will go directly to Soft Landing Missoula through the end of June! Take a peek around their store to support refugees and immigrants here under the big sky.
Bingo! for the Lifelong Learning Center: English classes (and more!) though the LLC are essential for the success of refugees in Missoula. On April 17th from 6:30-8:30, come out and have fun while supporting their incredible and life changing work! <<LEARN MORE>>
World View Film Series: Cultures in Harmony- Join us for the third film of this series in partnership with The Roxy! Under African Skies will be playing at 7p on April 22nd. <<LEARN MORE>>
Painting with a Purpose- Painting with a Twist® is proudly sponsoring SLM for their monthly fund raising event on April 30th at 6:30p. <<LEARN MORE>>
A few more photos for your enjoyment!
Thank you to the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and MAC for working with Soft Landing Missoula to help 2 ambitious women learn to use their Camera's in the RMSP "Mastering Your Camera" course. Learning the art of Photography has been a skill that these women have been excited about since they arrived in Missoula last spring, so thanks for helping make photography a reality for them!
Everyone wants more food photos right? If this makes you hungry-
sign up to receive weekly menus for United We Eat @home!