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.

OUR MISSION

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.

We know that we are at our best when we are motivated by openness, compassion, and opportunity for others.
— Mary Poole, Soft Landing Missoula Executive Director

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 English 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.

  • Driver's education course offered to prepare willing participants for their driving exam.

  • Facilitating car donations from the community to refugees who have earned their license.

4) Volunteer Organization and Training

  • Partnership with community organizations to recruit volunteers as needed

  • Recruitment, training, and management of volunteers for SLM programs

5) Community Resource Center

  • Bringing Missoulians and Refugees together

  • Location to run SLM programming

  • Location of food pantry in partnership with the Montana Food Bank Network

6) In-kind donations organization and distribution

  • Partnering with local churches, schools and other community groups to collect needed items

  • Collecting donations for IRC to complete home set ups

7) DEVELOP FOOD ENTREPRENEURSHIP

  • Sponsor individuals to cook and sell their goods at the Farmer's Market
  • Supper Club - partnering a refugee chef with a local restaurant to provide a cultural meal to the community
  • Helping refugee chefs work towards licensing their own businesses
 

Accomplishments

  • 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 and 2017, over 1000 people attended this series which included talks on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Refugee Resettlement in Missoula, Montana, Eritrea and Iraq. 
  • Conducted two ally trainings in which 50+ members of our community participated.
  • 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 and sold at the Farmer's Market every Saturday during the summer
  • Collect donations to help the IRC fully furnish apartments for over 35 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.

How can I help?

Make a financial contribution to support our work.

To volunteer, please fill out our Volunteer Form.

Join us on Facebook to receive updates and participate in civil discussion.

 

Photography courtesy of the International Rescue Committee