A huge thank you to the many Saint Peter members who were a part of our first Community Conversation on refugees on March 24th. The generosity of the bakers for our lovely dessert table, the many official and unofficial hosts that welcomed our guests, the amazing lunch team and clean-up team and those that donated bedding and gift cards for our new refugee friends. You made the day a great success! In fact, there were around 250 people in attendance!
It was moving to hear Helen Thorpe describe her own story of getting to know the students she shadowed in Eddie Williams’ newcomer class at South High School, where they learned to speak basic English. She painted a picture of resilience and determination as she described the many challenges these families faced as they sought safety in America from war torn countries where their lives were at risk. It was heart-warming the way she described the gratitude these students and their families feel for the many people along the way that have welcomed them and helped them as they are given a chance to start their lives over. We also heard from Eyni (eye-knee), a young Somalian refugee, about her success in not only graduating high school but her current pursuit of a college degree at the University of Colorado Denver.
Cultural Mentoring Program
Mary Feeney Francis from the LFS Refugee & Asylee Program shared with us ways in which we can respond consistent with our faith tradition’s call to “welcome the stranger” by walking with a newly arrived refugees through the LFS Cultural Mentoring Program, being an in-home high school tutor, a summer camp volunteer or help with their summer hiking program. LFS is specifically looking for groups of four to six people to form Cultural Mentoring teams that will be assigned to a refugee family and work with them focusing on four key points: financial literacy, employment, practical life skills and learning English. While it is important to help the families with these skills, your main job is to provide friendship to these new neighbors. It is a six-month commitment of about four to six hours a month.
If you are interested in being a part of Cultural Mentoring team, Saint Peter is hosting a training session on Sunday, April 7th from noon until 3:00 p.m. If you have any questions, or know that you would like to be a part of the training, please talk with Jeanne Maloney.
Future Community Conversations
Saint Peter plans to host more community conversations in the future. If you would like to be notified of those events, please sign up here.