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!

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Volunteer Opportunities!

Soft Landing Missoula is excited to share 3 volunteer tutoring opportunities for volunteers who are interested in direct service opportunities with refugees in Missoula. Hands on service requires a bit more of a commitment from the volunteer, but is a greatly needed and appreciated! Tutoring is a good way to get involved and there are options for whether you are more comfortable working with adults or kids. We encourage you to look through these opportunities and think about if any might work for you!

  • The Lifelong Learning Center

  • St. Joe’s Catholic Elementary School

  • Missoula County Public Schools


The Lifelong Learning Center teaches English as a second language to refugees and immigrants and needs volunteers to help support their students. Volunteers work under the direction of the instructor and often spend time one-on-one with students. 

When: Monday-Thursday, 9-12pm

Where: Lifelong Learning Center

How: call 549-8765 and request an application

Commitment: minimum of one hour a week up to every day!



St. Joe’s Catholic School is looking for a volunteer to come in the afternoons to work one-on-one with refugee students.

When: Weekday afternoons from 2:15-3:00 pm

Where: St. Joe’s Elementary School

How: Call St. Joe’s to request an application, (406) 549-1290

Commitment: At least one afternoon a week


Missoula County Public Schools is looking for tutors to work one-on-one with refugee and immigrant students during the school day. Tutors will commit to a regular schedule with the same student(s). 

When: Must have availability during the school day

Where: May be placed in any Missoula County Public School (requests will be considered)


  • Step 1: Fill out an MCPS volunteer application and background check. Please fill out the “unsupervised volunteer” application):

  • Please print, fill out, and take them (with a check for $6.00) to MCPS Administration Building, 200 S. 6th Street West during the day (better than mailing) – they are open at 8:00 am. The secretary in the Superintendent’s office, Ann Bates, will take them.

  •  Step 2: Fill out the MCPS Volunteer ELL Tutor Application:

  • At the same time, please complete the Volunteer ELL form online and email it to Shirley Lindburg at . This allows you to indicate your preferred schools, if any (close to work/home), grade levels if any, and times available during school day. You will be an unsupervised volunteer.

Commitment: once a week for the school year

For questions, contact

Volunteer opportunity- English tutoring

The Life Long Learning Center is in search of volunteer English tutors for their adult ESL class. This is a great way to get involved and help folks as they learn to speak English! They are in search of volunteers who are available Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm. If you are interested in this opportunity and available during any of the listed times contact for more information!

“Being a volunteer English tutor at the LLC means that every day is a joyful celebration of learning and of belonging. Supported by amazing ESL instructors, volunteers can make a tangible difference in the lives of refugees as well as other English language learners. Whether working 1:1 or in a group, whether conjugating verbs or counting money,  the LLC ESL classroom is a place where hearts and minds connect across cultures to create relationships which enrich the lives of everyone who is present.” – Life Long Learning Center English volunteer. Jan McArthur


Volunteer training: teaching English language learners

The Life Long Learning Center is providing another training for volunteers interested in teaching English language learners. This 4 session class with experienced English language teacher, Jacquie Teasdale, prepares you to effectively help someone learn the English language and is great for any population of English language learners, especially adults.

The Lifelong Learning Center is always in need of volunteers for their daily English class and taking this training is the first step to get involved! If you are interested in being an English tutor/teacher in any capacity we highly recommend you take this class!

“I learned so much in this training, from information about language in general to designing and implementing lesson plans. I am glad I took this training and will hold onto the knowledge from the class for a long time!” -Soft Landing Missoula volunteer

  • What: Teaching English Language Learners- Volunteer Training

  • Where: Lifelong Learning Center, 310 S Curtis St, Missoula, MT 59801

  • When: September 18th- September 27th, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

  • How: Sign up online at the Lifelong Learning Center registration page

  • Cost: $70.00

  • Lifelong Learning Center: (406) 549-8765

Seeking Intern/Volunteer for Child Care

The International Rescue Committee is seeking a volunteer or intern to assist with childcare for Missoula’s refugee population. 



  • Develop and implement childcare self-sufficiency plan in coordination with IRC staff and refugee family including: search for appropriate openings, facilitate tours, & assist families in completing paperwork
  • Serve as a liaison between refugee clients and Child Care Resources, the state scholarship program provider.
  • Teach families how to ride the public bus to reach Child Care Resources and childcare facilities 
  • Establish and cultivate relationships with Child Care Resources and early education providers
  • Expand on existing childcare procedures and protocol manual
  • Assisting with files, case notes, data entry, participation in weekly case staffing meetings


  • Background in early childhood education, social work, or other related fields
  • Motivated, flexible and ability to work independently, prioritize, and manage time effectively
  • Strong computer skill with proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Outlook)
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate and work as a team member in a cross-cultural environment
  • IRC orientation and background check required
  • Experience working with refugees/diverse populations is a plus 


  • Compensation: This an unpaid internship
  • Hours: 10+ or more hours a week
  • Supervisor: Becca Burgmeier, Employment Specialist at the International Rescue Committee

Interested candidates should email a resume and brief statement of interest to Zak Reimer, Community Engagement Coordinator at!