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:
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.
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.
Our efforts to continue to empower the next generation of refugee students will now be called Migros Academy. It will continue our five-year track record of our weekly Homework Club and mentoring of students, since our inception in 2017. Our goal is 25 students this next school year (2022-2023) We need your help to tutor these kids!
Click here to contact us and get more info and work to help a student with their homework and excel! You can make a real impact!
Angie Wiggins joins the Migros Aid team part-time to lead, guide, and facilitate the Migros Aid Academy. Wiggins has over 26 years of teaching experience in a variety of settings. Locally, she has taught with several homeschool co-ops and at North Central High School.
Wiggins says, “I am honored and excited to join the Migros Aid team and help grow the educational component of the ministry. Since January 2018, my daughters and I have volunteered at Migros Aid’s Homework Club. I am thankful for what we’ve learned and experienced through Homework Club. I would love to assist students who have great potential but who may be falling through the cracks in their crowded classrooms. God has given me many opportunities to teach English Language Learners, and I always welcome that. My family and I live on the west side of Indianapolis. My husband, Andy, and I have 3 daughters (Sarah Grace 17, Anna 16, and Caroline 15). We worship and serve at One Fellowship Church. In the free time I have after parenting 3 active teenagers, I love wandering downtown, eating at international restaurants, and hanging out in my hammock with a book.”
Migros Academy tutors will build personal relationships with students from the refugee community to foster academic confidence and a lifelong passion for learning.
How Will the Migros Academy Work?
Once a week tutoring sessions designed to address math and reading skills, as well as relationship building.
The tutoring sessions will have a specific schedule and structure to maximize the time that the student and tutor have together.
We will select 25 students (grades K-8) who demonstrate an interest in academic pursuits and positive attitudes. Each student will be paired with a tutor who will make a 9-week commitment to weekly tutoring sessions over the summer.
All tutors will apply, complete background checks and volunteer waivers, and attend Migros 101.
Tutoring sessions will begin at student homes to build trust between tutors, parents, and students. If all parties are comfortable, the sessions can later take place at other locations
Wiggins reflects further, “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.“
James Cedric is in his sophomore year at Vincennes University, Indiana’s oldest college founded in 1801. He is studying robotics and on a track scholarship and possibly looking to continue his education and running track at Purdue Northwest in the future.
James was a recent recipient of a laptop computer through Migros Aid.
James said, “Thank you so much for this computer, as this will help me in my studies at college and follow my dreams!”
We met first James in 2016 when he moved to America from Malawi, where he and his family had lived for 15 years as refugees. He was very young when his family fled war-torn Burundi to Malawi.
We were both so happy when we met because I (Joel) got to speak Chichewa to him from traveling to Malawi many years ago. He graduated from Arsenal Tech High School and played on their soccer team. While in High School he was active in our English / CARE club and went to a camp with other students. Thank you for your gifts that allow us to empower young men like James to pursue their dreams!
Younger immigrants can often find life in America challenging, even after being in America for three or four years. One of our efforts is to offer experiences for refugee teens and use the experiences to have conversation and lessons about life.
Zayd Vestal, a former Migros Aid summer intern, led a group of young guys in a rock climbing experience. It was their first time to go to a rock climbing gym.
Conversations about perseverance and goal setting were natural in the experience.
“When I got to the top i felt happy and feel like I accomplished something. This is what it is like in life.” said one participant.
If you have an experience for young immigrants, please contact us. We are always looking for new ideas
Over 7,200 Afghan refugees have been settled into Camp Atterbury in Indiana in the last several months. While the majority of these refugees will eventually settle throughout North America, many have made their new home in Indianapolis. Our focus has been on Afghans arriving here in Indianapolis in several different parts of the city. We have extensive relationships within the Afghan community and have been getting regular referrals of new arrivals requesting aid. We also hear from caseworkers who ask for assistance needed for new families.
We are having Afghan families come to our weekly CARE CLUB and HOMEWORK CLUB for connection and help. Please pray for our team as we navigate the open doors before us for new relationships and impact.
As many Afghani refugees are being settled around the city of Indianapolis, we are focusing our efforts of care and empowerment in the following ways:
Weekly English Classes for Afghani Women. We are currently having English classes two days per week in the community.
Weekly English Classes for Afghani men. We are currently having English Classes two days per week in the community for men
Furniture Donations. We have collected and delivered donated furniture to new families
Household Items from the Amazon Wish List. We have distributed many items from the Amazon wish list
Clothing – Most of the children do not have clothing and we have collected, sorted, and distributed clothing to families
Adjustment & Welcome- Our staff , volunteers and Migros Mentors have been assisting families and providing encouragement and friendship