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

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.  

Read more: Migros Academy Concludes Session 1 with Party and Awards Ceremony

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.”

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

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!

‘Reflections on Being a Friend at Migros Academy’ By Martie Hoofer

‘Reflections on Being a Friend at Migros Academy’ By Martie Hoofer

“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.

Read more: ‘Reflections on Being a Friend at Migros Academy’ By Martie Hoofer

Please contact us if you want to get involved in a student’s life

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!

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.