A Migration and Mentoring Story: Mohamad and Nisreen from Syria befriended by Tom and Wendy of Zionsville

A Migration and Mentoring Story:  Mohamad and Nisreen from Syria befriended by Tom and Wendy of Zionsville

It is our belief that mentoring leads naturally to friendship. We all need friends to navigate through life and form connection and community. It is a foundational need for any human, no matter what language is spoken or religious background. This can be challenging for refugees who come to America due to language and cultural differences. Mohamad and Nisreen arrived in America in 2016 and got involved with Migros Aid before we even incorporated as an organization in 2017. They attended our weekly English Club and our weekly tutoring program called ‘Homework club”. Soon after they arrived, They have been active in our community garden for the two years we have had it. Tom and Wendy Langebartels became Migros Mentors to them in late 2016. Their families have become close friends and like family to each other sharing so many times together. Tom and Wendy have helped them learn English, find work, teach them how to drive, help them find a car to buy, navigate green card issues,  apply and get accepted into a Habitat home and so many other things to list.     Most importantly, they have been faithful friends. Tom and Wendy have put their Christian faith into action.

As Tom says, “Jesus said, ‘I was a stranger and you invited me in.’  We met Mohamad and Nisreen and tried to do just that and our lives have been changed because of the friendship we have developed with them.”

A Migros Mentor is someone who becomes a friend and may not be able to solve every problem or assist with every need but will be present in support and friendship along the way. Please contact us if you want to become a Migros Mentor to a refugee family.

MORE OF MOHAMMAD AND NISREEN’S STORY & BACKGROUND…

Continue reading “A Migration and Mentoring Story: Mohamad and Nisreen from Syria befriended by Tom and Wendy of Zionsville”

Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

This is our third year for the Migros Aid garden. Each year it has grown and expanded, impacting more people.

We have had a couple of work days this year and plan to have more before planting in early May. We will employe 6-8 young people to work in the garden this summer and exploring ways to participate in a local farmers market.

In 2020, we grew 940 pounds of produce for the community. We hope that in 2021 we can increase this to help provide food to more people.

Continue reading “Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden”

Updated Mission and Vision Statements and Core Values

Updated Mission and Vision Statements and Core Values

Thank you to all of the volunteers and the Migros Aid board for giving input and suggestions on our revised mission and vision statements. We have been in a process of collecting input this year from our team to communicate what we are about. As every organization evolves and grows, it is always crucial to adapt and update the mission, vision, and core values. We believe this will help guide our efforts into the future and increase our ability to share our mission and vision with a wider audience to be able to have a greater capacity of impact.

MISSION

Our mission is to create belonging among immigrants and refugees by facilitating transformative relationships through holistic mentoring. 

VISION

Our vision is to promote a welcoming community of hospitality that creates human flourishing, self-sufficiency, and transformation – while reducing isolation and fear.

Continue reading “Updated Mission and Vision Statements and Core Values”

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

The Migros Aid Garden of 2020 has been a huge success in many ways. The garden is over and cleaned out for 2021! There were 53 volunteers involved in Garden work this year, from planting to harvesting to cleaning the garden. We added some new garden beds for a total of 36 raised beds. We grew and harvested 949 pounds of produce, including a variety of tomatoes, okra, eggplant, beans, and more. All of the produce was distributed (free of charge) to the refugee and immigrant community.

Over the summer we employed 6 teens who came each week to tend the garden in pairs, along with volunteer mentors. As a result of these relationships, 2 small group Bible studies were born and are still going.

The 2020 harvest is over, but the garden beds have been cleaned and are ready for 2021!

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

So many lessons about life can be taught in a garden.   That was exactly our vision for the second year of the Migros Aid garden.     The garden has been a real success despite all of the ways Covid-19 has been a challenge to all of us.

“Working in the garden this summer has helped us to communicate together and learn about the Bible.”  says 17-year-old Severin Zaoro, a refugee from Cameroon.

Severin is one of six young people who immigrated to America as refugees in recent years and have been involved in Migros Aid.  These students have worked in the Migros Aid garden over the summer on the west side of Indianapolis, giving two hours per week to care for the garden.      The students are paid a small stipend for their summer job, working in pairs.  The students were connected with an adult mentor who usually picked them up and provided encouragement, friendship, and teaching moments to the students each week.

Tina Swarens, a mentor to one of the girl’s groups, says, “I enjoyed getting to know the girls, seeing their enthusiasm to have a job and learning to garden.  I’m grateful God brought us together.”

The community garden is located at the Westside Episcipocal Community Center where Migros Aid is one of the ministry partners using the facility.

Migros Aid board member, Tom Langerbartels, gave leadership to the garden and says,  “The commitment of the volunteers and the regular participation of the immigrant students have been very encouraging.  The relationships built while working in the garden have led to cultural, spiritual, ethical, and political discussions.  It has really been a joy to watch how God is growing fruit in these young people as they work to grow fruit in the garden.”

Fifteen-year-old, Samacheya Tamang,  says, “I have learned that doing the garden is really good. It also reminds me of my home country and plus I like doing watering so the garden can have more watered and gives them the energy to grow.”

We plan to do three things with the vegetables that grow this year:   Distribute them to the refugee community,  sell vegetables to anyone for our back to school fund, and give to the Storehouse food pantry.

Please contact us if you want to host a Migros Vegetable Stand in your community and help support the work of Migros Aid.

The other students who participated were Ajulu Ojulu,  Pierre Kaskile, Anita Mawazo, and Naomi Salama.

Jan Woodall,  Nick Myers, and Lydia Crain were also adult helpers and mentors to the students.

Summer Camping Trips for Young Refugees

Summer Camping Trips for Young Refugees

The chance to drive for an hour away from the city is a big deal for many young immigrants.      This summer we have been able to take students on camping and hiking trips where stories are told and memories are created that will be remembered for a lifetime.   For many of these young people, it is their first experience of camping in America.

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‘Migros Mentors’ Seek Creative Ways to Connect with Refugees to Practice English during COVID-19

‘Migros Mentors’ Seek Creative Ways to Connect with Refugees to Practice English during COVID-19

Due to Covid-19 this year, it has left most of us feeling isolated and unable to have human connection.    Despite this reality, a few Migros Mentors have been able to stay connected with refugees they assist in learning English.    For most refugees,  the feeling of isolation and loneliness is a reality for many, many years.    There are so many new things to learn and figure out when moving to a new country. 

One of our goals is to connect “Migros Mentors” to refugee families to encourage them and be a friend.    Please contact us if you desire to practice English with someone and most importantly, be a friend.    

Where would anyone be in life without friends?    It is easy to be a Migros Mentor. 

The only requirement is time.    

Our Second Year of the Migros Aid Garden

Our Second Year of the Migros Aid Garden

For the second consecutive year, we are growing vegetables in 27 garden beds that were built in 2019.   We are going to have another 10 beds added in 2020 making a total number of 37 raised beds.    The garden will be a way to also mentor young people in a summer work program and work alongside a mentor. 

Some families have their own garden beds to tend, and what is grown in the others will be distributed to the refugee and immigrant community.  Volunteers from around the city came out to work alongside other volunteers and refugees to prepare the beds and plant the seeds. We also received a donation of 1,000 tomato plants, which was more than we can use, so some of those were given to others in the community.

Encouraging Education During Quarantine: Distributing Children’s Books and Helping with Online Learning

Encouraging Education During Quarantine:   Distributing Children’s Books and Helping with Online Learning

Volunteers are serving as tutors to help students with their online learning.  We helped set up a tablet so that she can stay connected to her teacher and complete E-learning exercises.

When one of our high school students reached out to a mentor for help with a math assignment, he was able to connect her to a math teacher who could help her.

Over 400 Children’s books were donated to Migros Aid to distribute into the community.  The children have been happy to receive books that are being distributed, as they do not have many in their homes.     We share with students,   “Leaders are readers!”