Thrive is currently seeking volunteers to work with individual families as "cultural brokers"- or, friends. Please email Raquel at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping out with a family!
You can make your donation to Thrive by clicking on the button below:
See our newsletters here:
And here you can see some recent articles written about Thrive:
Grains of Hope play to educate community about refugee issues:
Calvin work study student Jordan David works on refugee interviews:
Barnstormer Music Event:
In Rapids Growth, Heidi Stukkie talks about the program:
Thrive: A Refugee Support Program was created by South Wyoming United Methodist Church in 2011 to support local refugees (Grand Rapids, MI area) in adjusting to life in
their new country so that they are able to be physically and emotionally self-
sufficient. We partner with
other local agencies to assist with some of the needs this population has in
order to allow them to acclimate themselves to this country, preferably while
keeping the best parts of their own culture alive. This program connects refugees to
services they would otherwise not be able to access in addition to providing
programs to fill in some of the gaps in services for this population.
This program began with one volunteer working with one family from the Congo who arrived in Grand Rapids in 2010. When Jessica starting volunteering with this family of nine with two disabled children, she continued to notice that there were a lot of needs for the refugee community that were not being met. When the family said they wanted to go to a Methodist church, she emailed several local pastors and received a warm invitation from Marcia Elders of South Wyoming UMC. Other members of the church became VERY involved, and this family is now well supported. However, along the way there was a lot of talk within the network of church volunteers about the difficulties this family and other refugee families have and how we could better address this. Instead of sponsoring individual refugee families, the church decided to support a whole new kind of program. Thrive is a social work based program that takes on cases of refugee families who need help in certain areas. We work with families after their initial resettlement period is over to provide continued support when it is needed. We focus on social support and giving the refugee families assistance from volunteers to help them feel cared for and help them in their transition to life in the U.S.
Want to hear more about the program and refugee issues? Listen to The Catalyst Radio's interview with Executive Director Jessica Gladden!
Phone: (616) 206-4477