Last Thursday night members and friends of the Women’s Philanthropic Network (WPN) had a wonderful time at our Holiday Social. WPN member Carol Sweet opened her home and generously sponsored this wonderful event. Thanks Carol! Guests brought hats, gloves and coats for our Welcome Centers. You can see a slide show of the event on a blog post earlier this week (click here).
We heard from Samira who is a refugee from Iraq she came here many years ago and spoke about how she was able to break out of the spider web she felt she had come from. Her story was touching she is now working on her own organization to help women.
I personally shared how being a part of our initiative work is so important to me. In October I took my eight year old son and his friend to the South Parc apartment complex where the Hser Ner Moo Welcome Center is located. On our way there I explained how this is where many refugee families live. It was a really warm October day and the sun was out, it was a week day although school was out and when we arrived the children were playing in the parking lot and waiting for the Center to open. When arriving we met another WPN member, Mary Kay Griffin who is with the CBIZ Women’s Advantage group. She had several boxes of items to give to the Welcome Center. My son, his friend, and the refugee children who were playing in the parking lot all helped us unload the many items. The children seemed so excited to see the boxes of items they may be soon receiving that day. After we were done unloading I was busy talking with the other adults and the Welcome Center employees and as I said my goodbyes I turned around to find my son and his friend. I found that the two of them were engaged in a game of tag with the Refugee children of South Parc. I didn’t even have to initiate any type of introduction to these children. This was a moment I was not expecting see when coming to Center that day. I was expecting to teach my son a little about what it means to give back to the Welcome Center and I think he understood why we were there. But the best part about this story is the part that I learned. These children reminded me that it doesn’t take much to pull down barriers and integrate with one another. I let the children play for a while longer and then on the car ride home I asked my son if he learned any of their names and he replied “mom, I don’t think they spoke English, we just played games with them.” I laughed to myself and felt grateful for the work of the WPN and what we are doing for these families.
In addition, there was a nice touch to evening by having Zee Xiao in attendance. She is with the Global Artisans that is an organization that aids Refugees in Utah with attaining self sufficiency. This program is helping by teaching Refugees to make items and sell them. There were headbands, scarves, sweaters, bags and puppets to name a few. I took home an adorable pin cushion that I will be gifting to my mother for her birthday! All are hand made by refugees and the money will help them supplement their family’s income.
Thanks to all who attended this fabulous event!