One of our greatest successes has been a community garden in partnership with the Franciscan Ministries in Cincinnati to share the use of community garden plots with the refugees called the Franciscan Community Garden. The community gardens allow the Bhutanese to practice their love of gardening, and it is an educational opportunity for community partners, such as Turner Farm to teach refugees and train them on how to compost and garden. The community garden builds community and helps refugees obtain food security (increasing physical and economic access to adequate amounts of healthy food), health, economic, educational, social, and environmental benefits and the community at large. It also helps local food pantries by giving them access to fresh produce.
Each Friday, approximately 65+ refugee adults are transported to Northminster Presbyterian Church to participate in either English learning or citizenship learning depending on their individual English ability. Volunteers, including some refugees who have already attained citizenship, lead small groups in these learning activities. Time is provided for socialization and “current events” updating. Students are also encouraged to participate in community volunteer activities where they interact with Americans and have a chance to “give back” to their new community. Several times each year, special “field trips” are planned for all those who attend these classes. Each year, citizen awards are given to those refugees whose volunteerism has had a significant impact on Cincinnati.
Heartfelt Tidbits provides other services needed to help refugees and secondary migrants, at least 8,000 of whom have resettled here in the last 18 months. Sometimes called “The Long Welcome,” these services are a variety of support programs refugees need during and beyond the initial 45 days allotted by federal funding to become truly settled in our city. Because we take The Long Welcome approach, Cincinnati’s refugees show unprecedented success in employment, home ownership, entrepreneurship, and education compared to other cities. This is why so many refugees are moving here from other places. Here is a list of other programs we provide:
- Adult Education Program (Friday – Northminster Presbyterian Church)
- Homework Help (Wednesday Evening – Groesbeck Library)
- Cultural Training (Forest Park Methodist Church)
- Maker’s Circle (Monday’s in Finneytown)
- VBS (Summer)
- One-on-One Q&A’s or Guidance – As needed
- Employment assistance
- Getting Ready for College – Late summer/early Fall
- Field Trips – ongoing
- Family Planning
- Parenting Classes
- Foster Families
Interested in Serving with Us?
If you would like to find out more about and volunteer with Heartfelt Tidbits, download and fill out this Volunteer Form and return to us.