More than 65 million people worldwide have been uprooted from home by conflict and natural disaster. In response to the growing epidemic of displaced people, a group of concerned Missoulians came together to responsibly consider welcoming refugees in Missoula, Montana, and to be at least a small part of alleviating suffering for families in turmoil. Soft Landing Missoula is focused on building a sustainable effort to engage the community in helping refugees integrate and thrive well into the future.
Soft Landing Missoula (SLM) helps Missoula, Montana, to be a welcoming, supportive and informed community that can assist refugees to integrate and thrive.
SLM is committed to providing community education and outreach to make this endeavor as positive as possible for Missoulians and the refugees joining our community.
SLM provides ongoing support to refugees by helping them meet their physical, spiritual, and social needs as they settle into our community.
Soft Landing Missoula: Areas of Focus
1) Education and Outreach
Presentations to the community
SLM Presents- lecture series
2) Adult and Child Language Support Services
In office Adult ELL classes
One-on-one in home tutoring
3) Transportation Program
Securing bikes and equipment. Offering bike use, safety and maintenance classes, and orientation to Missoula's commuter trails.
Bus orientation with a goal of self sufficiency.
Driver's education course offered to prepare willing participants for their driving exam.
4) Volunteer Organization and Training
Partnership with the IRC for family mentor teams
Recruitment, training, and management for SLM programs
5) Community Resource Center
Bringing Missoulians and Refugees together
Location to run SLM programming
6) In-kind donations organization and distribution
Partnering with local churches
Items for home set-up and clothing drives (seasonal)
7) DEVELOP FOOD ENTREPRENEURSHIP
- Sponsor individuals to cook at the Farmer's Market
- Establish opportunities for refugee chefs to cater group meals
- Operate an office / community center where refugee families, volunteers and staff gather, meetings are held, classes are taught (English, drivers ed, computers), and easily allows community members to donate money and items.
- Established the lecture series Soft Landing Presents. In 2016, over 500 people attended this series which included talks on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Refugee Resettlement in Missoula, Montana. 2017 will include at least one lecture focusing on Iraq.
- Conducted an ally training in which 40+ members of our community engaged in the "Building an Inclusive Community" training offered by NCBI Missoula.
- Celebrated a First Thanksgiving, a joint project with the IRC, that provided a wonderful community welcome for refugee families and native Missoulians. We sold over 200 tickets for the event!
- Participated in the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
- Sponsored 5 families who cooked at the Farmer's Market every Saturday during the summer
- Collect donations to fully furnish apartments for over 30 refugee families.
- Assisted the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in re-opening a refugee resettlement office in Missoula, Montana.
- Organized and co-sponsored a “Stand Together Montana” rally in support of refugees and an inclusive community. More than 1,000 people attended.
- Hosted first annual World Refugee Day Soccer Tournament in June
- Participated in the national Welcoming Week in September by hosting 9 different events in the Missoula community
- Engaged with various groups of the opposition, including elected officials, to share basic information on refugee resettlement.
- Traveled across Montana to give talks and seminars on refugees and community organizing and activism.