Migros Academy Concludes Session 1 with Party and Awards Ceremony

Migros Academy Concludes Session 1 with Party and Awards Ceremony

Since 2017, we have valued investing into the lives of refugees kids and their education. “Homework Club” was where it all began and for four years we saw many students and volunteers come to a local apartment to get help with their homework each week. This year we transitioned Homework club and launched Migros Academy. Angie Wiggins joined the Migros Aid team to give leadership and organization to Migros Academy in developing ways to help in the ongoing education of students we serve. Wiggins comes with over 25 years of teaching experience and has a real passion for education.

Fifteen students completed session 1 from August to December this year and were recognized for their commitment. They all were given a certificate and a gift bag (Thanks to our partner: Eagle Church) this past Tuesday evening. Students are picked up each week and get one on tutoring from Migros volunteers. Session 2 begins in January 2023 and if you are interested in helping, please contact us. All the participants in Migros Academy are refugees and their parents speak little to no English and often cannot help them with their homework. .

Angie Wiggins, director of Migros Academy reflects on the evening,

“My heart was full as we drove the kids home after the Migros Academy Christmas party. The night was a resounding success with all the typical party fare that always thrills kids – games, gifts, snacks. The chatter in the van was a near deafening volume as kids talked excitedly about the party and belted out Christmas carols (mostly with incorrect lyrics, such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Rainbow.” Some of the memorable quotes revolved around the gifts they received:

“I’ve always dreamed of owning slime, and now I do!”

“I’m saving the candy to give to my Mom, so she can have a snack at work.”

“My new doll’s name is Sarah.”

Amidst all the conversation, the comment that stood out to me was from a rambunctious 12-year old boy, who boldly exclaimed, “I love Migros Academy!” This particular middle schooler is at the age where appearing cool is of utmost importance, and while expressing enthusiasm about tutoring is decidedly uncool, he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. This comment was powerful because it was unexpected! This young man struggles to focus on schoolwork despite being bright and curious. He would usually rather rough house with other boys or think up mischief. The first several weeks he came, it felt like his entire mission on Tuesday evenings was to derail and disrupt. I wondered if we’d be able to let him keep coming.  

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Week after week, we saw his attitude evolve. He became more respectful to me, always asking me about my day when he got in the van. He more often engaged in books and strategy games with his tutors. Before long, I began to look forward to seeing him each week, and now I can’t imagine Migros Academy without him. 

While he still isn’t a straight-A student and he still has plenty of mischief in him, I am convinced that our little community on Tuesday evenings has become a safe place for him. A place where he knows people are for him and expect great things from him. A place where whatever antics he may get into, we will welcome him back the next week. 

Migros Academy, since its inception in June 2022, has made a difference in his life and the lives of other students. We have met for 6 months and this week, 15 students received certificates for completing Session 1. When we begin Session 2 in January, we will launch with more students! Would you consider being a supportive adult in a refugee student’s life? Your weekly one-hour commitment can make a monumental difference for a student and it may even become a highlight of your week.”

A Few Stories from Migros Mentors Making an Impact

A Few Stories from Migros Mentors Making an Impact

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!”

“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.”

“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.”

“I have seen some students become more interactive and open to communication, including listening better.”  

“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. “

“Seeing Queen recognize me and our friendship each week – appreciate that growth!’

“I think mostly just watching how the kids grow as you spend time with them… not just physically but also mentally and emotionally “

“Very rewarding seeing people eager to become citizens”

“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. “

Read more: A Few Stories from Migros Mentors Making an Impact

Please contact us to get involved and mentor today!

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!

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.

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”

Empowering Afghan Refugees through Weekly English Classes

Empowering Afghan Refugees through Weekly English Classes

As Afghan refugees have moved to Indianapolis, we have been having English classes since November 2021 on a weekly basis in the community. We are so grateful for the several volunteers who are helping. We desire to continue these small classes through 2022.

The women’s class has been meeting for two days per week and is currently taking a break. We helped some of the more advanced, educated women enroll in a local English school to get daily English classes. The class provides emotional support for these women, too.

A class for men has been meeting weekly as well who are from Afghanistan.

Continue reading “Empowering Afghan Refugees through Weekly English Classes”

Participate in our Cross-Cultural Immersion Experience in 2022 – A Spiritual Retreat

Participate in our Cross-Cultural Immersion Experience in 2022 – A Spiritual Retreat

We are facilitating 3-hour spiritual retreats in the city of Indianapolis in 2022. It is a cross-cultural immersion experience that will open your eyes to the diversity in our city. it is a time of spiritual reflection, guided prayer, discovery, and exposure to the diverse cultures in Indianapolis and introducing people to the work of Migros Aid in the city.

Lacy Turnquist, Missions coordinator of Eagle Church in Whitestown, said, ‘ During our experience, my eyes were opened to the “International” area of Indy. I love that we can not only experience but engage with different cultures right here in our city.”

The Retreat Includes a meal, a stop at the international market to shop in groups, driving in the community, guided prayer, a visit to the apartment of a refugee family to hear their migration story, and the Migros Aid ministry center facility.

Sara Ford participated in the retreat and said, “Join Migros Aid for a day of delicious food, experiential learning, and thoughtful prayer as you immerse yourself into the many cultures represented in Indianapolis! Come with an open mind and heart prepared to learn about Migros Aid and its mission to love the nations right here in our city!”

Joe Garner said, “I witnessed generosity that we see very little in our current “US” culture.”

Please click on the dates below to sign up! Saturday – May 14, 11:30 – 2:30

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Teaching Life Lessons in a Rock Climbing Gym

Teaching Life Lessons in a Rock Climbing Gym

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

Continue reading “Teaching Life Lessons in a Rock Climbing Gym”