Migros Academy Spring Session has Begun to Offer Support for Students in their Education

Migros Academy Spring Session has Begun to Offer Support for Students in their Education

Since our beginning as an organization in 2017, we have desired to come alongside refugee students in their education. In 2022, we transitioned “Homework Club” to the Migros Academy. Our first session was in 2022. Our second session of Migros Academy launched on January 17 with renewed energy after a few weeks off for Winter Break. The tutoring team met over break to lend ideas and vision for our new year.  As a result of input, we’ve made some changes that are already bringing new life to our Tuesday evenings together!

The most signification change is that we gather in small groups now, rather than one-on-one pairings. The tutors and students gather in age-level groups with three to five students and tutors working together. Each of these age groups has its own flavor.

·       The preschool is in a self-contained room helping the youngest Academy students get a solid start on motor skills, letter and number skills, and other skills that will help them be ready for Kindergarten. Last week, they learned to sing “Old MacDonald had a Farm” and made letters from play-doh.

·       The Kindergarten-2nd graders are currently working on language skills to prepare them for standardized language testing that is coming up at school. They practice reading aloud, listen to books read aloud, and play language games with their tutors.

·       The 3rd-5th graders and 6th-8th graders begin each session with a launchpad question to practice writing and discussion skills. Last week they discussed whether they would rather take a time machine 100 years into the future or 100 years into the past. Following the launchpad discussion, they practice reading, play strategy games, listen to read-alouds, do math fact drills, and participate in a variety of cooperative activities.

The small groups have given new life to our Tuesday evenings as we see even more relationships form and grow. Every Tuesday, I’m blown away by our tutors and our students. I am convinced that no one in the Indianapolis area has more fun that we do on Tuesday evenings. If you’d like to come visit and see if I’m right, we would love to have you join us!

Read more: Migros Academy Spring Session has Begun to Offer Support for Students in their Education

Our plan is to add 5-6 more students this session, and we need more adults to make that happen! please contact us

Operation Hope: Our 2022 Year-End Campaign

Operation Hope:  Our 2022 Year-End Campaign

Operation Hope is our 2022 year-end campaign.   As 2022 comes to an end soon,  would you consider helping us meet our goal for our year-end campaign?  We have set a goal to raise $75,000 and need your help!   We are grateful for some generous gifts to help us get going in this campaign, as we are about to enter into 2023.  

Click here to see what your donation will do.

Click here to
-Make a donation and help us meet our goal
-Become a fundraiser
-View our progress in this campaign

A brief explanation about Operation Hope from Migros Aid’s founder:

I was once in a refugee camp in Africa years ago and I will never forget a conversation I had with an older man who was a refugee from Sudan.    

He said to me,  “A man can live 40 days without food, 4 days without water, and 4 minutes without air but no one can live 4 seconds without hope.”

Hope.     Sometimes we have it and in other moments we are searching for it.  Hope is about expectation or anticipating an outcome that is favorable.  We hope in power,  pursuits, and different kinds of possessions only to be left disappointed and restless.      

Read more: Operation Hope: Our 2022 Year-End Campaign



There is a kind of hope that lasts and sustains.   It is not based on feeling or emotion but on the truth of what God has promised us.   In my understanding,  lasting hope is birthed from faith and always leads to love.  (1 Cor 13:13)

In the scripture, we read about this lasting hope, “…and hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  (Romans 5:5)

Operation Hope is about enabling Migros Aid to be a conduit of hope to those in our community who have fled war, hardship, and poverty.   So many are hopeless and seeking a lasting, sustaining hope.  We offer and seek this kind of hope and want to share hope with others through our words and acts of love.   Also, I think we discover hope for ourselves when we give of ourselves to others in service. 

We tutor students to offer hope. We mentor to offer hope.   We help people learn English to offer hope.  We explain how things work in America to offer hope.  We play soccer with a teenager to offer hope. We pray with and for others to offer hope.  We serve to offer hope.   We share our lives to offer hope.   We give a donation to offer hope.  (Mt 25:40)

Would you help us offer this kind of lasting hope into 2023?  Your donation will do that. Thank you for your prayers and support. 

Hopeful Because of Jesus,

Joel Vestal
Luke 18:1

Our 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden: Where Relationships Grow, Disciplines Develop, and Learning Happens

Our 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden:  Where Relationships Grow, Disciplines Develop, and Learning Happens

            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!

Read more: Our 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden: Where Relationships Grow, Disciplines Develop, and Learning Happens

Please contact us if you want to be involved in the garden in 2023!

C.A.R.E. Club Continues to Provide Community and Connection for Emerging Generations of Refugees

C.A.R.E. Club Continues to Provide Community and Connection for Emerging Generations of Refugees

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.

Read more: C.A.R.E. Club Continues to Provide Community and Connection for Emerging Generations of Refugees Read more: C.A.R.E. Club Continues to Provide Community and Connection for Emerging Generations of Refugees

Please contact us to get involved

Watch Our New 2022 Film: Migros Aid in Indianapolis: Providing Aid, Training, Service, and Empowerment

Watch Our New 2022 Film:   Migros Aid in Indianapolis: Providing Aid, Training, Service, and Empowerment

Click below to watch! We are grateful for our new short film in 2022 and all those who helped make it! Please watch to understand our vision and mission and why we exist!

Read more: Watch Our New 2022 Film: Migros Aid in Indianapolis: Providing Aid, Training, Service, and Empowerment

Contact us to get involved. Click here to make a donation to help support our work!

Zayd Vestal Reflects on His Experience as a Summer Intern

Zayd Vestal Reflects on His Experience as a Summer Intern

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.”

Read more: Zayd Vestal Reflects on His Experience as a Summer Intern

Thanks to Zayd for his heart and desire to serve the refugee community this summer.

The Migros Academy Launches in June to Assist Refugee Students through One-On-One Tutoring

The Migros Academy Launches in June to Assist Refugee Students through One-On-One Tutoring


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.

Read more: The Migros Academy Launches in June to Assist Refugee Students through One-On-One Tutoring

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.

Empowering Refugee Young People through Landscaping

Empowering Refugee Young People through Landscaping

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:

Read more: Empowering Refugee Young People through Landscaping

Please contact us for a mulching job or other needs you might have.

Tina Campbell Shares her Story of Being a Migros Mentor

Tina Campbell Shares her Story of Being a Migros Mentor

Tina shares, “My husband and I have enjoyed being mentors to a brother and sister from Somalia.  They and their mother have been in the U.S. since 2016.  Another Migros mentor helped them obtain their green cards and get settled into the city.  We came along a few years later in their journey and have enjoyed sharing our “middle class American” lives with them.  Ping pong, Cracker Barrel, and seasonal decor are just a few bits of Americana that have been shared.  Pictured above is me sharing my love of ice-cream cake as we celebrated the end of Farhiyo’s Ivy Tech class.  The other picture is of Farhiyo sharing her talent of henna painting with me.  We shared many laughs over the strange color the ink turned on my white skin!  Being a mentor to a young adult has been rewarding and full of more laughs than I anticipated!  “

There are other families in need and we are seeking more Migros Mentors like John and Tina.

Please contact us if you want to serve as a Migros Mentor.

Read more: Tina Campbell Shares her Story of Being a Migros Mentor

We require you go through a Migros 101 class and run a background check and you can be paired with a family for friendship, encouragement, and support.

Hannah Bryant Shares Her Story of Being a Migros Mentor to a Refugee Family

Hannah Bryant Shares Her Story of Being a Migros Mentor to a Refugee Family

Bryant shares, “I’ve been volunteering with Migros Aid for a little over a year. I’ve had the privilege of being a mentor- which means being a friend to a refugee family. I got to help my African friends get settled into a new place in Indianapolis, get registered for school & navigate some of the language barriers experienced in every day life. We spent a lot of time last summer just hanging out and sharing meals together. I even learned how to make fufu! It has been the hugest blessing. My family has a greater understanding of what it means to be a refugee in the United States. We’ve had the privilege of experiencing other cultures & truly helping the least of these. I had no idea some of the challenges they face & I’m so grateful my family and I have been able to help.”

Many refugee families move to Indianapolis after living in other parts of the United States for a short period of time. They usually move to Indianapolis because of the good job market or they know someone who lives here, as the family did in this mentoring relationship. Families like this loose all their support from other groups serving them in the initial city they were settled in. Through the work of Migros Aid, this family was able to get help and support that was greatly needed.

There are other families in need and we are seeking more Migros Mentors like Hannah.

Continue reading “Hannah Bryant Shares Her Story of Being a Migros Mentor to a Refugee Family”