Newsletter 4/12/19


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,

Mary Poole
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 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.

Upcoming Events

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!

unnamed (9).jpg

Painting with a Purpose!


PWAT image.jpg

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Join SLM for Painting with a Purpose 2019!

Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Time: 6:30 to 8:30 PM

Location: Painting with a Twist, 2100 Stephens Ave Missoula, MT 59801


<——— You’ll be painting this!

Sip. Paint. Give Back!

In their ongoing commitment to give back to the Missoula community, Painting with a Twist® proudly sponsors a monthly fund raising event – Painting with a Purpose. 50% of the proceeds from Painting with a Purpose event and 100% of the art auction proceeds are donated to local non-profit organizations that are hosted in studio.  The process is simple: register for the class and come in and paint!  Help support Soft Landing while having a blast with family and friends.  It’s fun art, not fine art!

And don’t worry about your painting skill level, their talented team of local artists will guide you step by step through the session’s featured painting. They provide all painting supplies and no art experience is needed. Just be ready to have a blast! If you’re coming with others, but making reservations separately, give them your group’s name in the Special Request box. They will seat you together!

2/28/19 Newsletter


Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).

Would you know what I meant if I said the term SIV? Many people have never heard of this status for coming to the United States as a refugee. It was created to provide a path to safety for the brave and generous men and women from Iraq and Afghanistan who put their lives on the line to serve along side our own US Military as interpreters and provide an essential lifeline for our soldiers to the communities they were working in. Recently, we sponsored a film for the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival called “The Interpreters”.  This film showed the hardship and danger that Iraqi and Afghan translators face due to working with the US- tens of thousands of who, with their families, are still in very eminent danger. 
In response to the continued slowing down of refugees into America- including SIV’s- we sponsored this film and partnered with Soft Landing Missoula board member and Marine Corps veteran, Clem Work, and a local Missoula veteran who worked along side interpreters in his tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan, Andrew Person, to present an op-ed advocating for SIVs.  As stated in the op-ed, “Nearly 73,000 SIVs have settled in the U.S. in the past 12-plus years (only two in Montana), but delays and red tape are putting applicants in harm’s way.”  We want you to know that there are still tens of thousands of people who qualify for this status, waiting somewhere, hiding somewhere, for America to say thank you and welcome them home.  

Please take a moment to read the rest of thisvery thoughtful op-edand join us in advocating for SIV’s by calling on Congress and the President to prioritize getting these families to safety.

In love and gratitude,

Mary Poole
ED Soft Landing Missoula

March Supper Club!


Join us at Masala for Soft Landing Missoula’s March 10th supper club! This month we are excited to showcase the talents of guest chef Merry Gebray from Eritrea.

Merry’s meals are wonderful, packed with flavor and prepared with heart. There will also be a coffee ceremony following dinner—a daily tradition and staple of Eritrean culture!

Call Masala at (406) 926- 6444 to reserve your seat!

Reserve your spot today- they go QUICKLY! More details here.

Volunteer Spotlight- Chase Gay (aka Mr. Cheese)


Chase volunteers with our Teen Team and has also made numerous trips to Helena to help families with their Green Card applications. He also comes to our office every Thursday to meet with clients, answer phones and help with whatever comes up. One of the refugees was gushing about how nice and helpful Mr. Chase is and accidentally called him Mr. Cheese instead. Now, of course, that is all we can call him. We are so grateful for you, Mr. Cheese! Find out more about this incredible guy here.

Upcoming Events

Flying Squirrel Bounce Night!


Looking for a warm, dry place to spend some quality time having fun with family and friends? Take a break from the cold and come hang with us at Flying Squirrel Missoula for our first Bouncing Bucks Jump Night fundraiser!

On March 22, from 5-9p, 50% of your admission ticket will go to Soft Landing Missoula if you just say you’re with us!

Spread the word, bring your friends and make sure everyone mentions Soft Landing when purchasing admission tickets for us to benefit from this fun evening! We will also be there jumping with a crew of awesome kiddos!

IRC Petition- DUE MARCH 4TH!!

We have so many wonderful partners participating in the 2019 Legislative Session, working together as members of a coalition called MIRA, Montana Immigrant and Refugee Advocates.

As part of the effort to show support for refugees in Montana, on March 8th, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) will be hosting their first legislative briefing in Helena to educate state lawmakers about refugees and their resettlement process. 

Leading up to this day, they also need our help! They will be bringing this petition to Helena and it will be shared with all Montana legislators. Please circulate within your networks and share state wide! To show support for your new refugee neighbors and to tell legislators that you believe in the value of resettling refugees here in Montana, click the link below. Lets help them get hundreds, if not over a thousand signatures! It is an easy and quick way to Stand With Refugees! Link to sign the petition here!


Hiking the Himalayas.jpg

Soft Landing’s 3rd Annual World Refugee Day Cup is happening June 16th 2019. More info on how to play and party with us coming your way soon. See you there!!!  

Music, dance, and storytelling from Ghana, West Africa with Kofi Anang

Unity Dance and Drum is hosting Kofi Anang for a series of exciting events October 15th-18th. You won’t want to miss this experience! Information about the week provided by Unity Dance and Drum below:

SAVE THE DATES!  October 15-18 Unity Dance & Drum presents Kofi Anang, in Missoula to share music, dance and storytelling from Ghana, West Africa.


Kofi is a staple of West African performance and teaching in the Pacific Northwest. His organization, Ocheami, in Seattle, WA, was founded with the purpose of sharing West African culture by providing authentic, quality instruction and performances in African Arts — and to have these experiences accessible to all.


Kofi Anang is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Department of Music and Dance. He performed with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble throughout the world from 1965-1972. Kofi was lead dancer and musician with the late Obo Addy, a well-respected Ghanaian musician, from 1972-1977. Incorporating his talents as a dancer, drummer, teacher and choreographer, Kofi co-founded Ocheami in 1978, and serves as Artistic Director.



Tuesday, October 16, Missoula Senior Center (705 S. Higgins)

Drum class 5:30-7:00pm

Dance Class 7-8:30pm

$20/class suggested


Wednesday, October 17, 7:00pm, Open Space (PARTV005), UM Campus

Evening performance and sampling of music (kalimba, drums, bells, song), storytelling, dance, and conversation of Ghana, West Africa — come enjoy Kofi Anang in his element, sharing his knowledge and expertise with Missoula! Free for UM students, $5-$20 suggested donation at the door. Co-sponsored by the UM Dance Department and Unity Dance & Drum.


UM classes: please respect UM policy that you must be invited by Tarn Ream into these classes (please contact Tarn with questions,

Students will learn the dance Abaja – a ceremonial dance from the Eve people of Ghana that is performed at Home Going Celebrations (transition from life to death). The dance is based on the movements of a bird because now the spirit is free…

Monday, October 15, 4:00-5:20pm dance

Wednesday, October 17, 4:00-5:20pm drum

UM students free, donation suggested for non-UM folks.


More about Ocheami:

Ocheami is an African Arts organization that aspires to promote healthy, holistic lifestyle practices, cultural competency through education and cultural development, independently and in collaborative ventures with other organizations.


We are a group of artists and educators with a common goal, to study, share and perform West African culture to support healthy perspectives of life. Ocheami means linguist, the representative who speaks on behalf of the chief in the Ga Language of Ghana, West Africa. Ocheami are “performers speaking on behalf of West African people through drumming, dance, song and storytelling.”


Ocheami is currently celebrating their 30 plus years of providing excellent programs in these disciplines.

Kofi picture.jpg

ocheami logo.jpg

Ocheami performs.jpg

Pumpkin Party 2018!


This year Soft Landing Missoula is throwing our first ever Pumpkin Party!

We need your help! Here are ways you can help make many of these kiddo’s first Halloween’s one to remember:

  1. Buy pumpkins from the Poverello Center! Pumpkins are only $10 and the money goes directly to the Pov to support their food and shelter programs. Pick up a pumpkin at the Good Food Store, Rattlesnake Market, YMCA Missoula, Imagine Nation Brewing, and The Trough and drop them off to Soft Landing’s office [939 Stephens Ave Suite C Missoula, MT 59801] through October 18th! Support the Pov, support Soft Landin- it’s a win, win! More info at:

  2. Donate a gently used kid’s costume! If you have any gently used children’s Halloween costumes, we would love to distribute them. Help share this spooky tradition with the kiddos and help them feel apart of their new community! Drop by the office by October 18th.

  3. Donate fabric for our costume makers! Do you have any spare fabric we could make superhero masks and capes out of? Drop it by the office before October 18th!

  4. Make a monetary donation! We would love for you to make a donation that would help us purchase decorations, supplies, and food for the kiddos. Contribute here:

We are so excited to share this fun tradition with our new neighbors and are so grateful for your help! Happy Halloween!