Kids in the REACH summer program this week got an opportunity to canoe and paddleboard, set up tents and interact with nature at Esther Simplot Park in Boise.
We had the joy of partnering with Ellis Nanney, executive director of Grow Outdoor Access. Ellis provided the outdoor gear and expertise. For some of the kids in the REACH program (Refugees Empowered to Achieve), it was their first time setting up a tent or riding a paddleboard.
“My goal, as someone who grew up in Idaho and experienced having access to all the wonderful outdoor activities we have, I just want … everyone to kind of have that same opportunity and not be limited because they don’t have the proper gear,” Ellis said. (Learn more about the program in this great feature by Idaho News 6.)
Our group had a blast. There was a mix of children from refugee and U.S. backgrounds, and volunteers from the Idaho Office for Refugees, Boise State University, Glocal and the community.
At Esther Simplot Park, the kids and volunteers split up into four groups and rotated stations:
We also enjoyed hearing from Amanda Reedy, a therapist with Tidwell, as she taught the kids about using their five senses to be present in their bodies and help calm anxiety.
Joel Ryman with partner organization Gates of Hope also led a cool exercise involving the whole group to recreate the rising and falling sounds of a rainstorm — showing the group how every person’s contributions matter and can be used to build up or to tear down.
We’re thankful for this supportive community and for the beautiful opportunities we have in Idaho to connect with nature and with each other.
The U.S. State Department is calling for the intimidation and attacks in Ethiopia's Tigray region to stop, Reuters reports.
"We are deeply concerned about credible reports of attacks by military forces affiliated with the Tigray People's Liberation Front and the Tigrayan militias against Eritrean refugees in the Tigray region," State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter told reporters.
More than 275 Eritrean refugees have been resettled in Idaho in the past decade, representing 4% of total resettlement statewide. That includes one person from Eritrea who arrived in Idaho this month.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expressed extreme worry for the roughly 24,000 Eritrean refugees in the Tigray region who "are facing intimidation and harassment and living in constant anguish, cut off from humanitarian assistance," the agency's website says.
Fighting broke out in the region in November, Reuters reports; thousands of people have died and around 2 million have been displaced, while more than 5 million rely on emergency food aid.
UNHCR is pushing for immediate humanitarian access and safety for aid workers attempting to provide life-saving assistance.
Reshma Kamal is planning out which dishes she'll have ready on July 20. There’s biryani, a rice dish. It’s her mom’s recipe — “and it’s spicy,” she said. There is korma, a meat and gravy dish. Don’t forget the naan, beef and chicken kabobs, and sweet dishes.
“It’s a festival,” Reshma said. “People are coming to your home, and they want variety.”
Eid al-Adha, one of the two main holidays celebrated by Muslims, starts on Tuesday, July 20, this year. Because only 1% of Idahoans are Muslim (an estimated 18,300 residents), the broader population, including many employers, might not realize the significance of this holiday.
Called the “Festival of Sacrifice,” this three-day holiday reflects on Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God; however, just before he was about to take his son’s life, God provided a ram for him to sacrifice instead.
Families traditionally celebrate by sacrificing an animal — perhaps a goat, lamb, cow or camel — which is divided into three parts. One third goes to one's own family, one third goes to friends and one third goes to people in need.
“In Boise, a lot of people go to farms and they do their own sacrifice,” Reshma said. “On the other hand, many send money back home to have it done. But it’s required for everyone who can afford it.”
The holiday coincides with Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that is required of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime. The only other major holiday in Islam is Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Not everyone celebrates Eid the same way — the Muslim community has a diversity of backgrounds, cultures and languages.
In Boise, Tuesday morning will start out with prayers at the mosque. After chatting and having some snacks together — and maybe grabbing a coffee with friends on the way home, Reshma said — it’s time to finish preparing the food and get ready for any guests that might drop by. Around dinner time, smaller groups may gather at a community clubhouse or meeting place for a potluck.
“The biggest significance of (Eid al-Adha) is the sacrifices that we make in our lives to follow what the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, says, just like the story of Prophet Abraham and his son,” Reshma said. “Simple things — be on the right path, be honest, be sincere, be good to your neighbors.”
Reshma, the mother of two daughters, also reflects on her gratitude for the good things in life. “The blessings of having a roof over your head, or not worrying about getting up in the morning and thinking, what am I going to feed my kids?” she said. “Simple things of life.”
WATCH: Idaho Office for Refugee's data management specialist Malak Al Fatal shared about her Eid experience with Idaho News 6:
Please join us in welcoming Jose Martinez as the new project manager for Global Talent. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Jose has an extensive international business background and first-hand experience navigating Idaho’s job market.
Global Talent, a program of the Idaho Office for Refugees, helps college-educated new Americans reclaim their professional careers in Idaho. Through the program, job seekers have access to personalized training and career coaching, and Idaho employers are connected to a larger pool of skilled workers.
Jose replaces Ashley Davis, who led Global Talent for almost four years and is now on to her next adventure: backpacking across Idaho.
“Our recovering economy stands to benefit now more than ever from the education, multilingualism and years of experience that Global Talent job seekers bring to our state,” Ashley said, “and Jose is well-positioned to help local businesses make these hiring connections."
Jose himself is an alumnus of the Global Talent program. Married for 23 years with three children, Jose and his family decided to make Idaho their home and are more than happy with that decision.
Global Talent is also excited to announce that Heather Webster has stepped into the role of Employment Services Associate. Heather grew up in Boise and attended Biola University in Los Angeles, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Studies, Secondary Education, and Social Science.
Heather moved back to the Pacific Northwest where she continued working with culturally diverse communities in the education and the nonprofit sector. She brings to Global Talent a wide spanning network of professional contacts and hands-on experience coaching individuals to reach their full potential. Heather is passionate about making the Treasure Valley a place where all people can live, work, and thrive.
Since 2015, Global Talent has:
To learn more and contact Global Talent, visit glotalent.org or connect with Jose at email@example.com.
This week there are two events in downtown Boise to help you beat the heat and expand your cultural perspectives:
Movie night with Agency for New Americans
Watch "This Is Home: A Refugee Story," about four Syrian refugee families finding their way in America.
Bosnian Culture & Cuisine
UPDATE: This event has sold out
In the 1990s, more than half of the refugees resettled in Idaho were from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Learn about Bosnian culture and its prevalence in the Treasure Valley in this multi-station program featuring food, dance and history.