July 2020
Global Friends Coalition: Educate, Embrace, Empower
2020 Volunteers of the Year: Susan Kiesow (left) and Kristina Beiswenger (right).

How can we help our communities be equitable?

Dear <<First Name>>,

When I think about how Global Friends makes Greater Grand Forks a more equitable community,  I reflect on the many dedicated volunteers who help New Americans with English language learning.  Susan Kiesow and Kristina Beiswenger, a dynamite mother and daughter duo, are committed to making sure families are able to access our English classes by routinely providing childcare. They have been reliable and responsible, and have become highly respected by the families attending classes.  Our English classes, taught by dedicated volunteers, are not of much use if people cannot attend, and childcare can be an obstacle. Kristina and Sue are fully dedicated to ensuring families have one less worry and are able to comfortably learn and build skills and confidence in our classrooms.  We are hopeful that our face-to-face English classes will resume. Currently, we are offering an online advanced citizenship class over Zoom and hope to start an online beginner class in mid-July. 

We recently held a virtual World Refugee Day event on Saturday, June 20th to recognize the strengths that refugees bring to our community and to honor refugees all over the world. If you missed it,  you can still watch the films and listen to the panel discussion. What was striking to me was that our panelist from Massachusetts, Mubarak Nsamba, who directed the film "Pulse of a Dream," had so much in common with our local panelists, Reginald Tarr, Thomas Mah, Sundus Hassan, and Laxmi Dhimal. They are all juggling many different responsibilities, including jobs, family, and school.  COVID-19 has certainly affected their lives and they were working to cope with the changes. Hearing their experiences helped me to have more understanding of the work/life balance that many people are struggling with at this time. Mubarak Nsamba shared that in his language, there is the word, "ubuntu," which means being human. Desmond Tutu in his book, "The Book of Forgiving," speaks of "Ubuntu." Tutu speaks of the word "Ubuntu" as "the very essence of being human. [We] say [...] 'Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu.'" According to Tutu if you have ubuntu you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. In Tutu's words, it is to say, "My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours." We belong in a bundle of life. We say, "A person is a person through other persons."  

In my view, our child care and our English classes are bundled together--without child care, parents would not be free from distraction in their learning. Global Friends brings together human beings to help each other. We learn from each other. The MOST COMMON words that I hear from our volunteers are these: "I learn more from the people I work with than I  am able to give ." We are bound together.

Please reach out if you have ideas as to how we can better educate our community or if you'd like to get involved. We are in the office occasionally, and also working from home so the best way to contact us is to either call  701-330-0765 or email  Your continued support provides us hope. Through your gifts, and support, you make a difference. 


Cynthia H. Shabb
Executive Director
Please take a minute to give us your feedback about topics you are interested in learning about.
Global Friends is committed to engaging in a process that actively supports inclusion, celebrates diversity, and works toward achieving social and racial justice. Offering films and/or panel discussions can help us learn from others. 
Give us your Feedback!
Community Events

Global Friends Advanced US Citizenship Class
Call 701-330-0765 if you want to participate in this advanced citizenship class over the Zoom app. You must be able to access the internet to participate. And, you must be able to read, write, and speak English. This class moves quickly as it is advanced.

Grand Forks Public Library
Virtual Storytime (Pre-K and Up)

Join the GF Public Library staff on Zoom for stories on Tuesdays at 10am! Please email to get the login, password & be added to the email reminder list!

Summer Reading Program
Track your summer reading and earn cool prizes from the Grand Forks Public Library. Ages 0-18. Sign up at

Curbside Pickup
Beginning July 6th, the library will offer curbside pickup for any books and other materials available for check out. More information on procedures to come - watch for more information.

Little Red Reading Bus
Free mobile library with stops at parks and schools around Grand Forks. Starts Monday, July 6th. For more information and a schedule, click here.

Grand Forks Park District
Drive-in Movie Night
Thursday, July 9th
Alerus Center Parking Lot (south side)

5:30PM - The Lion King
8:00PM - Frozen II
Pull up your car and enjoy two free movies in the Alerus Center parking lot. Concessions from Ground Round are available for purchase.

Scholarship Program
If a child qualifies for free or reduced lunch at school, they qualify for reduced fees for GF Park District programs, including swim passes, Just For Fun, and other activities! GLOBAL FRIENDS HAS FUNDS TO HELP!  Please reach out to us  by emailing  or calling 701-330-0765 and click here for more information

Just For Fun Program
July 6th - August 12th
Monday - Friday, 12:30 - 4PM
The Just for Fun program provides supervised playground activities for children 4-10 years of age that are designed to encourage participation in group games, arts and crafts, field trips, and special events. Weekly swimming pool trips are included. $50 (though you may qualify for a scholarship, more information above). Various sites are offered. For more information, click here.

Outdoor Pools
Elks Pool and Riverside Pool are now open. Day passes are $4 for adults, $3 for kids, $1 for under 4 years old; a season pass is $50 per person (or $25 if qualified for a scholarship). Remember, Global Friends has funds to help. Contact us!
Monday - Friday, 12 - 4PM & 5 - 8PM
Saturday & Sunday, 1 - 4PM & 5 - 8PM

Spray Parks at Elks Park, University Park, and Choice Health and Fitness are also open and free to use.

Swim Lessons
Various sessions beginning July 6th.
$50 for 8 30-minute lessons (though you may qualify for a scholarship, more information above)
For more information and to register, click here.

YMCA Youth Sport Academies
Volleyball (2nd-6th grades) 
Basketball (2nd-6th grades)
American Football (2nd-6th grades)
Speed Training (ages 10+)
Movement Progression & Conditioning (ages 8+)

All YMCA academies begin July 6th and have multiple sessions. For more information on each program and to register, click here.
Community Resources
Grand Forks Community Support Facebook Group
This group brings together state and local news and resources every hour. They also answer questions and help coordinate assistance for families in need of supplies.

Grand Forks Food Pantry, Grocery, and Restaurant Resources
Lists food pantries and their hours and procedures for families in need of food assistance. It also lists the new hours for grocery stores, as well as hours and procedures for restaurants operating delivery or curbside pickup.

Grand Forks Housing Authority
Housing is now accepting change of income reporting online, so if you have a Section 8 voucher, or you live in a Housing Authority property, and you've been laid off or have had your hours reduced, report the change to your caseworker right away for immediate relief.

High Plains Fair Housing
If you believe you're being treated unfairly and having your rights violated by your landlord, reach out to High Plains Fair Housing for assistance.

Firstlink / 2-1-1
Firstlink operates a community resource/crisis hotline. If you call 2-1-1, you can ask questions about where to find certain items, hours for stores or community resources, or just about anything. They are also trained crisis operators, so you if are feeling thoughts of suicide or just need someone to talk to, all people who answer the phone are trained to help.
1st ever Virtual World Refugee Day
World Refugee Day was celebrated virtually on June 20th. You can still watch it by going to our Facebook page

A panel discussion (above)  followed the screening of three immigrant directed films produced by Community Supported Film on Global Friends' World Refugee Day. Films included Worlds Apart at Home, by Abdirahman Abdi, Navigating Hope by Sayed Najib Hashimi, and Pulse of a Dream by Mubarak Muwonge Nsamba.

Panelists included from bottom left to right: Laxmi Dhimal, Mubarak Nsamba (director of Pulse of a Dream), Reginald Tarr, Sundus Hassan, & Thomas Mah, and moderator, Cynthia Shabb. World Refugee Day events were supported by the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region.
U.S. Census - Help Our Community Receive Vital Funding
You are required by federal law to complete Census Forms.
Your response informs how much our community receives on critical programs like Head Start.

To learn about the Census and how it affects our communities, visit 2020CENSUS.GOV
Copyright © 2020 Global Friends Coalition, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp