We can all look back on our lives and remember people who made positive impacts on us. At Migros Aid, we believe our work is important and allows us to enlist others to support and encourage those we serve. Thriving in life requires a community to come around and offer love, encouragement, and friendship.
Your donation on this #givingtuesday will allow us to continue to serve these ten people – and others!
Laurent, from Cameroon, is five and lives with his mom and brother. His brother has been in and out of the hospital a lot this year and numerous people from the Migros community help the family. Laurent proudly tells everyone he knows about being on High Honor Roll and involved in weekly tutoring and CARE club.
Hannah, from Syria, has been learning English with a Migros mentor, and she just passed her U.S. citizenship test with the help of a Migros mentor.
Obed has started coming to Migros Academy after hearing his siblings, Prince and Davis, talk about how much they like their tutors. He wants to work on bringing up his grades.
Mahat, from Somalia, was quite a handful and it was hard to get him focused when first coming to Migros Academy. He has matured in many ways and loves playing strategy games, like Battleship, with tutors. He’s even taken a couple books home with him.
Daima asked a mentor, “Have you ever been to McDonalds? Is it nice? We heard it was nice. I always wanted to go there.” Daima, along with her 6 siblings, come for help with homework at our weekly Academy and attend CARE Club. They are soon to be treated to a meal at McDonald’s over Christmas holidays.
Mohammad will soon be sworn in as an American citizen. He has been helped by Migros mentors for the 5 years he has been in Indianapolis, after fleeing war in Syria.
Chance,a teenage girl, meets regularly with a Migros mentor for Bible study. Her mentor also assisted her in starting a new job.
Sandrine is a teen girl from Africa and recently enjoyed the Winterlights Display with her mentor at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Solei is a refugee mother of four and has been in America since June. She currently works weekly with one of our cleaning crews to earn money for her family.
Emma Lar finally can come to get help with her homework at Migros Academy. She is in Kindergarten and now joins her brothers: Eh My and Chrys Ta Pah.
Did you know we have 70+ Migros mentors? We like to imagine the breadth of our work through these amazing folks – all volunteers! These mentors meet with families and others tutor students on a weekly basis through the Migros Academy.
We love hearing the stories of how many are engaging creatively and helping our refugee friends thrive. We often say that we want to be “friendship brokers”. We connect volunteers with refugees to become friends. We all need a support system to thrive. The challenge for most refugees is that that support system can be limited due to language and culture. Refugees support system of other family and friendships are miles away in their home nations and it can be lonely. Will you consider being a mentor? We promise it might change you more than you can imagine.
A few stories from Migros Mentors…
“We were reading a book about the Amazon Rain Forest & decided to look up videos of animals that live there. It was so much fun!” Steve
“One of the children I tutor is (age appropriately) inpatient but we have been practicing patience when playing board games. Each week the improvement is noticeable and I know this skill will serve her well when she starts school.” Martina
“Sandrine helped volunteer with me and we celebrated her birthday by making candles. I took her to the Celebrate Science event to visit the booths and learn more about stem and opportunities for summer programs and internships. When I took her home her aunt (Mukeshimana) and grandmother taught me how to make fufu.” Amanda
“I have seen some students become more interactive and open to communication, including listening better.” Noel
“One of the girls in our CARE group got her driver’s license and learner’s permit. She kept studying over the summer and finally passed on the second time taking the written test. “ Tina
“Seeing Queen recognize me and our friendship each week – appreciate that growth!’ Keri
“I think mostly just watching how the kids grow as you spend time with them… not just physically but also mentally and emotionally “ Maggie
“Very rewarding seeing people eager to become citizens” Paula
“One student passes the Civics portion – a great feat given the memorization she had to do and the other student passed all portions. I have explained to my students that English is so important to become part of the community and learn more about people and cultures. “ Darby
“I’ve taught hundreds of students in my career as a 7th grade reading & writing teacher. Why did this new volunteer gig feel so intimidating? Oh… there would just be the 2 of us with no set curriculum. THAT is what had me so nervous as I walked through the door my first Tuesday night for tutoring with Migros Aid.
Then it hit me – I was there to be a FRIEND! A smiling consistent face to chat with, have fun with, and maybe learn a little along the way. Ahhh…. I could be a FRIEND!
Just think about it. What do friends do? They chat while doing things they both enjoy. For Sifa, Rebecca, Daima, and I, that means we color with colored pencils, play games, read (we’ve found some great picture books!), write, and share snacks while swapping stories about siblings and school.
Being a part of the Migros Aid community is one of my favorite hours of the week where all I have to do is be a friend.”
By Martie Hoofer, a tutor at Migros Academy since the opening session. She and her husband, Steve, have 2 grown children. Martie taught at Pike Township schools for many years and remains actively involved in the school district. She worships and serves at One Fellowship Church.
The Migros Academy is our effort to empower emerging generations of immigrant and refugees in their education through one one one tutoring.
If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. – Robert Brault
The 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden provided more than food this season; it also provided a setting for relationships to grow, discipline to develop, and learning to happen.
Our garden produced 989 pounds of tomatoes, cabbages, okra, peppers, cucumbers, and more spread among 36 raised beds. Throughout the summer and fall, community members and volunteers harvested food weekly and distributed it to families.
Beyond the actual vegetables it yielded, the garden did more than we could imagine. Middle school boys (who can be notoriously difficult to wrangle in the best of circumstances) spent an entire evening digging up potatoes and competing for the biggest one – each convinced that they might discover one that could break a world’s record for size. A mentor and some teenage girls had conversations about faith and the Bible over beds of vegetables. An African woman taught Americans which leaves and stems could be cooked into delicious, nutritious dishes. Young girls filled bag after bag to take home to present proudly to their mothers. Teen boys earned pocket money by weeding and caring for the garden. Conversations about culture and food were shared between volunteers and members of the refugee community as they tried to save every cherry tomato before the first frost came.
In the spring, a team sowed seeds that became sprouts, then tall plants, then vegetables. More was sown, however, than physical seeds. The garden also allowed opportunities for seeds of faith, trust, and friendship to be sown. We look forward to seeing the harvest that God produces from those seeds.
All produce was given away for free to families in the refugee community.
And now the garden rests until we begin again next year!
C.A.R.E Club is our weekly outreach event to the community. We serve a hot, healthy meal for dinner and provide a support system for those who come. We believe growth, in all forms, comes through relationships. CARE groups meet during CARE Club for 10-15 minutes where they discuss issues related to adjusting to a new life in America and life lessons that will result in flourishing. Recently, we discussed topics like communication, eye contact, and the importance of saying “please” and “thank you”.
Some students bring homework where they can get help and the adults who come get to have an English lesson after eating.
We have several things we say often to the group like, “Respect 3 things! What are those 3 things?” “Respect yourself, others, and property!”
We also ask everyone, “Why do we have CARE Club?” The answer, “Because we care for you!”
C.A.R.E. stands for: Connect with others | Aspirations | Respect | Emotional health
Each week our conversation and small group is guided by these themes. We always start small groups with saying what we are grateful for the previous week. Contact us if you want to come and serve and be a part of C.A.R.E. club.
We had our fourth Back to School Event in the community last week with an enormous turnout from the community. We gave out 150 backpacks filled with school supplies for the upcoming school year. Food was provided by friends from Somalia, Syria, the Karen & Mon people (from Myanmar region).
We met many new families who signed up for services. The students enjoyed face painting, corn hole, soccer, and table games! Free kids books were provided to each student who wanted to begin to build their own library.
Thank you for those who came to serve! It was a phenomenal, magical evening
Zayd Vestal has completed his freshman year at North Park University in Chicago, IL. and still deciding his major. He currently is working as a summer intern this summer with Migros Aid and helping serve in numerous ways within the refugee community.
Zayd reflects on his summer internship,
“I have discovered that I have felt most at peace with the families, children, and individuals of my age who are connected with Migros Aid and from around the world. What I mean by “most at peace” is that when I spend time with these individuals, whatever the occasion is, I have never felt more comfortable and at ease. Of course, not everything is peaceful, but I can genuinely say that in my entire life, I have never felt as safe to be myself around the people in Migros Aid, even though there is a drastic cultural boundary between them and me. As I have gotten to know these individuals, almost every encounter with them is full of joy and warmth that seems rooted in their DNA. These individuals are mainly refugees from different parts of the world. They come to Indianapolis mostly on the lower-income spectrum of society, English not their primary language and most are not familiar with the customs and culture of America as a whole. Immigrants are the gentiles of modern-day America. Romans 3:29 says, “After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course, HE is! Our God is the God of all nations and cares for our neighbors and ‘the stranger.’ I have very much cherished my cross-cultural experiences with Migros because I have gained different perspectives of the world, and I believe this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus: to see and hear from people of all different backgrounds. We are all created in the image of God and have something to show of the Kingdom of God.”
The Migros Academy launched on June 7 and is designed to help assist students to get ready for the upcoming school year that starts on August 1. Eleven volunteer tutors came to tutor students through the summer. All of the students that Migros Aid works within the community are behind in their education, some very significantly. Through the pandemic, most fell even more behind.
The Migros Academy is a continuation of our “Homework Club” that we have been doing for the past four years in the apartments. It is an effort to continue our efforts to empower emerging generations within the refugee community. Tutors will be matched with a student weekly to practice reading, writing, and math. Our goal is to accept kids from grades 1-8 and help them enter High School strong.
Tutors will meet weekly for about 9 weeks and then meet about 10 times during the fall and 10 times during the spring.
Please contact us if you want to serve in this capacity! We have more students who want a tutor than available tutors.
All tutors must fill out an application and have a background check and go through Migros 101. Make a difference in the life of a child today!
Angie Wiggins, Director of the Migros Academy, says, “Through our process, young people will realize their unlimited potential and make meaningful contributions to their families and communities. There are bright, eager students in the refugee community who have great potential for leadership and academic success. This new generation of Americans can take advantage of all the world has to offer them and can offer their own gifts and hard work to their communities when they have the necessary tools. Their untapped potential is a detriment to them and their communities! •Their parents are committed to their students doing well in school because most immigrant families value education. Most of the parents, however, are working long hours, are unfamiliar with the American education system, and have not yet become fluent in English. These factors make it difficult for them to assist their children with homework. America is richer when immigrants bring new perspectives that immigrants bring to the table. All Americans benefit when immigrants succeed.“
Glocal Services LLC is our business partner and exists to “Provide professional general labor services throughout Indianapolis and offer mentorship to young people in the refugee, immigrant community”.
This spring crews have been busy providing mulching services throughout the city. We are accepting more job through June. Contact us for pricing and more info The work provides opportunity for students to have part-time work and earn pocket money. Further, the experience allows them to be educated on the importance of part-time work and gaining work experience. Several who have worked with us the past three years have used their experience on creating a resume for the first time, something we assist refugees in doing. One young woman obtained a wonderful job right after High School at Riley Children’s hospital. This is her resume: