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JANUARY 2020
Global Friends Coalition is educating, empowering, and embracing New Americans!
Students receive personal attention at our citizenship classes held at the Kvasager Learning Center. Join us every Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. Photo credit: Erin Phillips/Soulshine Photography at Global Friends Coalition citizenship class.



We are Ready to Provide a Path to Thriving Citizenship!  

 
Dear <<First Name>>,
We met our $25,000.00 matching grant from the Otto Bremer Trust so we are ready to provide a Path to Thriving Citizenship! Learning English takes time and effort--and our classes do help. Thanks to our supporters we are able to provide the English learning materials needed.

I'm reading Dina Nayeri's book, "The Ungrateful Refugee." And, while I am not thrilled with the title, it's a compelling story describing her experiences as she goes from Iran to Dubai, to Rome, to Oklahoma with her mother and brother. It includes the stories of refugees she intentionally goes out to meet. She describes times when she was told by people that they understood her need to come for a "better life" and how all she could think of was what she left behind in Iran, where her parents, both highly educated physicians, provided her with a beautiful home that included a garden with yellow roses, a pool, and a glass enclosure inside her house where a tree lived. I wonder if I have a tendency to forget this part of the refugee story. The place where people lived, when happy and contented, before something major occurred forcing them to flee to safety? 

Already this year I have attended a funeral of a Bhutanese woman who died in her forties from two strokes. Back in Bhutan she and her husband were successful and busy tailors; here in Grand Forks they had to start all over again.

For so many of the refugees I know and love, I have heard about their experiences in refugee camps, or living in urban settings but as refugees--struggling with day-to-day needs. And, yes, refugees want to get out of these situations. They are grateful for the safety that new communities provide them. But, let's remember there are struggles. Our Bhutanese refugees left a gorgeous country where they were happily going about their lives until being forced out by the King because of their culture and customs. Refugees come with talents and strengths and they end up starting all over. They have been teachers, business owners, physicians, dentists, farmers, land owners, and yes, tailors.

I have gotten to know several people who served for the U.S. government as interpreters during war. One man has shrapnel in his leg that he carries with him as a daily reminder to what he sacrificed. And what does he find here? An apartment, too small for a family of five, and a low-paying job that barely covers expenses. So, I understand why Dina Nayeri wrote this book and gives it the title that she does.

It gets me to think about what more Global Friends can do to help. It spurs me to improve our advocacy work and to make sure that we advance what we are doing in terms of helping people gain better employment.

We cannot do this work alone.I am grateful for our volunteers who strive to help. Our Path to Thriving Citizenship Campaign’s goal is to provide opportunities to learn English and the civics information they need to become citizens of the United States so that, in the words of Grand Forks' Mayor Michael Brown, we all have a "great place to live, learn, work, play, and stay." Join with us--
volunteer, support us with a monetary gift, advocate on refugees' behalf at your work-place, your place of worship, and with your friends and family. 

Your gifts help advance our mission of educating, empowering, and embracing New Americans.


Sincerely,



Cynthia H. Shabb
Executive Director
UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS
East Grand Forks Campbell Library
Creative Job Search
Thursday, January 9th
9:30 AM - 3:30 PM

A Workforce Development Representative will lead the session on finding and applying for jobs.

Game Night w/ Broken Sentry Games
Tuesday, January 21st
6:00 - 7:30 PM

Try out new board games or bring your own favorites - play with your friends or make new ones!

Tech Help
Tuesdays
9:30 - 10:30 AM
One-on-one technology help. Bring your device and your questions!

ND Museum of Art
Family Art Day
Sunday, January 25th
10 AM - 12 PM

Family Day is a day where children of all ages and adults come together to work on projects that help us understand the Museum exhibit or learn about techniques and materials. Admission is free!

First Season Community Center
Now Open! Ages 2-10.
Monday - Friday (10AM - 3PM)
Saturday (10AM - 5PM)

1110 7th Avenue South (Connected to Purpur Arena)
$3 per child each day. Indoor playground, play spaces, and concession stand.
Greater Grand Forks Soccer Club
Winter Fustal (Indoor Soccer)
Starting Sunday, January 12th
Multiple traning sessions offered each week including fustal (indoor soccer) and goalkeeper training. Costs depend on number of sessions attended (starting at $60). Click here for more information.
Alerus Center
Fight the Frost
Friday, January 31st - Sunday, February 2nd.
More than 35 inflatable games and obstacle courses. $8 for children ages 0-5, $14 for ages 6+. Click here for more information.
GLOBAL FRIENDS CLASSES
Call us at 701-746-8233 for more information or if someone is in need of a ride.
Classes resume the week of January 6th.
Want to learn English?
Come learn and practice basic and conversational English skills.
Mondays & Tuesdays from 5- 6 PM
Kvasager Learning Center
(1802 Continental Drive)

Free childcare provided.

New American Social Hour
Exercises + Games = Fun!
Thursdays from 1 - 2 PM
Sharon Lutheran Church
1720 South 20th Street (use Door #1)

Citizenship Classes
Prepare for your US Citizenship interview and test.
Wednesdays from 5 - 6 PM
Kvasager Learning Center
1802 Continental Drive

Free childcare provided.
Come and Sew!
We provide the sewing machines & cloth. Everyone receives a sewing kit!
Tuesday, January 14th
1 - 3 PM
Sharon Lutheran Church
1720 South 20th Street (use Door #1)
Free childcare provided.
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