Day 1, Wednesday, Feb. 22
Day 2, Thursday, Feb. 23
Emmy Power & Georgette Siqueiros - International Rescue Committee of Boise
Learn about what it means to have refugee status, the different agencies involved in the refugee resettlement process, the vetting process, and about the federal, state, and local laws and policies that support the refugee resettlement program.
Student Success in Higher Education
Gail Shuck, Sadia Abdulkadir, Fadil Adan- Boise State University
The presenters, mostly members of the refugee-focused Multilingual Student Alliance of Boise State, will lead interactive activities and share their stories of being successful university students. Participants will share and learn new strategies for guiding prospective college students.
New Americans in the Classroom
Sara Skinner- Sara Skinner Associates; Chantale Niyonkuru- Idaho Office of Refugees; Laura Armstrong- Glocal Community Partners; George Safari - KA Health Services; Deb Ryman - Gates of Hope
In this interactive workshop, participants will get a glimpse inside the refugee youth experience and will build skills for teaching new Americans. What is it like to be forced to leave your homeland? How does it feel to enter a classroom in a strange language, in a strange land? How does trauma interfere with learning? Who are “Cross-Cultural Kids?" And how do we, as teachers and staff, help immigrant students feel welcome and learn? Participants will learn trauma-informed techniques that they can use with students from a variety of backgrounds.
Creating Housing Solutions
Robert Frazier- houseyourneighbor.org
Bart Cochran- LEAP Housing
Available, affordable housing will always be a battle for refugee resettlement in growing, thriving cities, so we need creative solutions that not only address the inequalities in housing but create new housing stock through innovative strategies. Houseyourneighbor.org was developed as a clearing house and a partnership with Leap Housing Solidcreative.media and Neighbors United to help catalyze opportunities to grow housing stock through faith communities and beyond.
Supporting Self-Sufficiency & Respecting Autonomy in Health Care
Mana Mohamed, Taylor Clark- A Body and Mind Health Services
Interested in participating in a conversation about supporting self-sufficiency and respecting the autonomy of refugees? This workshop intends to facilitate a discussion regarding best practices in providing community resources for refugees while supporting their autonomy. Participants will walk away with a community resource guide and knowledge regarding Mindfulness Based Trauma Recovery for Refugees.
Reshma Kamal, Mugisha Willent & Arsene Shema International Rescue Committee of Boise
This workshop aims to raise awareness of the learning relationships across cultures that serves as a key connection to the refugee/immigrant resettlement journey and integration into communities. The workshop explores cultural differences and understanding the importance of cultural empathy.
Teaching Tips for the Increasing Multilingual College Classroom
Gail Shuck- Boise State University
Nicole Brun-Mercer - Boise State University
Liz Fleshman- College of Western Idaho
This workshop will introduce participants to basic tips for linguistically inclusive teaching. Attendees will engage in interactive activities that spotlight some key differences among multilingual students and learn several ways to modify their teaching based on those differences and on evidence-based pedagogical practices. Participants will leave with new ideas about how to adjust a classroom strategy or assignment to maintain a focus on “linguistic flexibility” and support students from all backgrounds, regardless of native language.
Sponsor Circles: Lessons Learned from a New Community
Joe & Kim Mitchell- Idaho Falls Bridge Builders
We will describe our experience starting a Sponsor Circle to welcome three Afghan pilots to Idaho Falls, a city which has not had refugees in decades. Participants will gain a better understanding of how Sponsor Circles work, how we engaged with the refugees after their arrival, and how we learned to engage members of the community, including the Idaho Falls Muslim Association, several churches, local government, and the College of Eastern Idaho.
Creating a City for Everyone Through Language Access
Lana Graybeal & Eulalia Gallegos- City of Boise
The City of Boise is deeply committed to being a community for everyone, where people from all backgrounds are able to fully participate and thrive. Our goal is to provide equitable access to resources, programming, services and activities by creating meaningful engagement opportunities, including a formal Language Access Program. The program ensures all members of our community are able to participate in their preferred language. In this workshop we will share tools the City of Boise has developed to enhance outreach and communication practices to reach our linguistically and culturally diverse communities.
Implicit Bias Training - Parent Engagement
Yazmin Guevara- Alvarez Consulting
In this session, participants will explore implicit bias and how it can affect family engagement in schools and other settings. We will explore the importance of family engagement and awareness of expectations. Participants will learn strategies to counter implicit bias and ways to build sustaining relationships with families.
Clinical Implication of the Refugee Resettlement Process
Elizabeth Rutten-Turner- Saint Al’s Medical Group Center for Global Health & Healing
The asylum and refugee processes are long, complicated, and traumatic. This workshop will review the overseas process of filing for refugee status and the psychological effects on individuals, families, and communities. Participants will then explore how trauma responses and the psychological effects of the resettlement process continue to impact how individuals, families, and communities get their needs met in the USA. Finally, participants will be encouraged to explore their personal responses and biases when engaging with trauma responses from others.
The Journey from Hostility to Hospitality
Nick & Laura Armstrong- Glocal Community Partners
Reshma Kamal- Islamic Center of Boise
This workshop hopes to improve our understanding of current and historical expressions of social hostility towards refugees and immigrants, our level of empathy through stories from refugees that reflect actual experiences related to hostility and hospitality, our learning from each other (workshop participants and facilitators) on ways of expressing hospitality and becoming an active community agent of change towards hospitality.
Building Financial Capability as New Americans
Kole Kracaw, Sakhi Hasmati- International Rescue Committee
Jessica Bruce & Klaudia Saric- Economic Opportunity
Americans navigate through U.S. finances every day and often take for granted the financial knowledge they've gained by simply growing up within the U.S. The complexities and many obstacles inherent to the U.S. financial landscape are immediately apparent to new Americans who are rebuilding their lives in Boise. This workshop will take participants on a short journey through a refugee, parolee, or asylee's first year of their new life in Boise as they try to create a healthy financial future for themselves. Staff and former clients will describe services, pose difficult scenarios to participants, and share their personal stories from their first few months in the U.S.
Collaborative Research in the Community: Building Trusting Relationships
April Masarik- BSU Dept. of Psychological Science
Salome Mwangi- BSU & Refugee Speakers Bureau
Katherine Doyon- BSU School of Nursing
Kristin Snopkowski- BSU Dept. of Anthropology
Michal Temkin Martinez- Boise State University
This workshop is about the opportunities and impact of collaborative, community-based approaches in research involving refugee populations. Participants will get a brief overview on ethics in human research, with a focus on best practices in community-based participation involving historically marginalized populations. Participants will hear real stories from a panel of local university researchers (faculty and students) and community leaders with refugee backgrounds who are actively engaged in this kind of research. The discussion will be framed around building trusting, respectful relationships between researchers and the community.
Lifting Refugee Voices in the Classroom and Community with Storytelling, Poetry & Visual Art
Merna Hecht- Refugee & Immigrant Youth Voices & Poetry Project
Via art and poetry, refugees can share their struggles and courage with the wider community, furthering compassion and building more inclusion and welcome. We will showcase examples from a nationally recognized program with multilingual learner classrooms in Washington State. Participants in this lively workshop will engage in hands-on creative writing and arts activities as models for bringing refugee voices into visible community spaces.
Supporting the Economic Inclusion of Refugee & Immigrant Workers
Mike Zimmer- World Education Services
Zeze Rwasama- College of Southern Idaho
Hamila Hamud- University of Minnesota
The United States faces deepening labor shortages in critical sectors including health care and education. Internationally trained refugees and immigrants have the education, credentials, and experience to meet immediate workforce needs and bolster the nation’s long-term economic vitality. This workshop will consist of a panel discussion of promising models and advocacy efforts to promote the inclusion of internationally trained refugees and immigrants in the U.S. workforce. Panelists will include policy experts from national organizations such as World Education Services (WES) and local practitioners, including Zeze Rwasama, director of the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Programs, and Dr. C. Scott Smith, a mentor and consultant for the Global Talent Doctors program helping refugee and immigrant doctors navigate the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination process and find commensurate work.
Cultural Awareness in the Classroom
Jill Ayabei- West Ada School District
Joetta Julugbeh- Gem Prep Pocatello School
Are you an educator with culturally and linguistically diverse students? Do you want to better understand your students’ cultures and clear up misunderstandings? Come learn tips on being a culturally responsive teacher. We will discuss individualism/collectivism, cultural differences that can lead to misinterpretations, and approaches to handling disruptive behavior. We'll practice how to communicate in supportive and understanding ways. You will leave with a better understanding of your students and yourself.
Working with Police
Officers Jessica Knarr & Travis Buffi- Boise Police Department
Have you ever been frustrated after contact with a police officer? Let's talk about what everyone should know about interacting with your local police officers. Everything from how you explain your needs to dispatch to understanding how to best interact and communicate with officers. We will share information that you will find useful whether you interact with police as a victim, suspect, witness or concerned citizen. When we shed some light on how the system functions everyone walks away more satisfied with the contact.
Collin Elias- Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
First section: Through findhelpidaho.org individuals and families can easily connect with resources in their community. This single point of access provides free, confidential, easy to use and up-to-date information improving access, availability, and affordability of resources for all Idaho residents.
Second section: Learn about the health screening provided to all refugees new arrivals in Idaho along with the major health findings from these assessment. This will be followed by a presentation on the history of the refugee Community Advisor program in Idaho and a description of the services provided through this program.
Our Languages Matter!
Selda Delsooz, Time Thornes & Michal Temkin Martinez- Boise State University
There are so many languages spoken in the Treasure Valley! In this workshop, participants will learn about an exciting opportunity to work with Boise State students and professors to document their native languages through the Boise Language Project (BLP). The BLP pairs linguistics undergraduate students with community members who arrived as refugees living in the Boise area to document their home languages. Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to briefly work with students in a mini documentation project and learn about long-term opportunities to work on BLP projects!
Amplifying Multilingual Voices: Strategies for Co-Teaching for Inclusive and Effective Classrooms
Alejandra Howell & Tami Gall - Nampa School District
How can educators create inclusive learning environments for students from diverse countries, with varying levels of schooling, and multiple languages? How can co-teaching meet the needs of students with refugee backgrounds? In this workshop participants will experience concrete instructional strategies used in co-taught classrooms, where a language specialist and content teacher partner to teach language and content simultaneously.
Program for Survivors of Torture Eligibility Criteria
David Mfitundinda, Elizabeth Rutten-Turner, Catharine Wilfong- Saint Alphonsus Medical Group Center for Global Health & Healing
The Saint Alphonsus Center for Global Health & Healing started the Program for Survivors of Torture (PSOT) in 2015. The program offers interdisciplinary and integrative services to help address the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual impact that torture and trauma has on the person and family. PSOT also provides local training for clinicians, individuals, and agencies working with similar populations to help increase the community's understanding and overall capacity in serving families who have been affected by torture. This session will provide you with a better understanding of the current statistics of torture survivors in the program, eligibility criteria, the referral process, and the services offered within the program.
Talking to Reporters on Immigration: Find your message, prepare your story, stay safe
Nathaniel Hoffman- Paleomedia
Lana Graybeal - City of Boise
This workshop will be a quick intro to preparing for a media interview around immigration and refugee issues. Participants will learn an easy to follow framework for preparing their own or organizational messaging and have a chance to practice answering questions and telling their story. We will also discuss tips for working with reporters, staying safe in interviews, and discuss the various types of media outlets and how to interact with them in a productive way. Former immigration reporter Nathaniel Hoffman will guide participants in a series of exercises meant to rapidly prepare for media interviews.
Invisible Barriers to Integration & Best Practices in Belonging
Kristen Dayley, Brandi Kilmer & Arbay Mbwera - Their Story is Our Story
Resettlement is only the first step in the journey of integration where concerns of housing, food security, transportation, language acquisition and employment can hamper a smooth transition, impact mental health, and exacerbate issues of personal identity. Their Story is Our Story, in partnership with other non-profit organizations, will share learnings using first-hand accounts and best-practice models as to how communities can assist refugee neighbors overcome systemic barriers and experience acceptance, belonging, and self-worth.
Retaining Refugee & Immigrant Talent in the Workplace
Hannah Roche, Heather Webster, Zahraa Naser - Global Talent, Idaho Office for Refugees
This workshop will feature Global Talent staff, alumni, and local employers in a discussion about how supervisors, co-workers, and mentors can best support new American professionals as they restart their careers in Idaho. We will introduce how cultural dimensions can play out in the workplace, discuss common challenges and successes faced by Global Talent alumni, and share best practices for employers.
New Americans, Disability & LINC
Zoe Johnson, Cecile Atimango, & Jen Grush-Dale – Living Independence Network Corporation
Coming to America is challenging. Coming to America AND having a disability has even more challenges. In this workshop, the folks from LINC (Living Independence Network Corp) will give an overview of LINC services. Zoe and Cecile from our staff will speak from first-hand experience as immigrants and refugees. In addition to being a refugee, Cecile is also a wheelchair user, giving her a unique perspective on the work LINC does. Learn how to access LINC’s services to help all people with disabilities live lives of their choosing.
A Family Tool for Anger Management
Janet Kaufman- Grump Meter
Paulette Flores- Psychologist
Come learn about the Grump Meter, a tool for emotional self-regulation and compassionate communication. Working from a trauma-informed perspective, the Grump Meter focuses on empathic connection, and supports people of all ages in communicating feelings and meeting needs in safe and caring ways. You will make your own Grump Meter, and have time for practicing specific communication and reflection that you can take right back into your own environments. We will share examples from school and family programs.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Marie Hattaway- City of Boise
Alex Brooks- Boise Environmental Education
Huda Shaltry- Boise Public Library
Out-of-school, non-traditional educational programming enriches the lives of adults and youth. The City of Boise offers these programs, many for no or low-cost. Join this session to learn about benefits of out-of-school programming, specifically those available in the City. Attendees will also engage in a deeper discussion about how the City may improve awareness and access to these programs for all City residents.
A Workout for Grant Writing Effectiveness
Diane Demarest- Jannus, Inc.
Grants are an important funding strategy for nonprofit programs. Knowing your subject matter and being passionate about your program is critical to writing a convincing grant proposal. But common writing mistakes can send your proposal to the rejection pile. Learn how to make your proposal easy to read and a great experience for the reviewer. If your project is clearly understood it can be on the way to funding. Learn strategies to approach proposal development more effectively. Positive energy, vivid language, and being clear, concise and coherent are the 'trade' secrets to winning grant proposals.
Mobilizing our Institutional & Community Power Against White Nationalism
Katie Bitz & Cindy Gaytan- Western States Center
This session will focus on what each of us can do to strengthen our institutions against bigoted assaults and support leaders to take action opposing racism and anti-immigrant bigotry. Together, participants will learn about the tactics that bigoted groups use to undermine democracy and harm refugee resettlement and immigrant justice, with a focus on understanding the Idaho landscape of anti-democracy groups. Then, we’ll map out participants’ experiences with these tactics, and discuss how to effectively organize for justice in the current context, sharing new tools from Western States Center and equipping participants with next steps to take action.
Starting Over: Refugee stories of resilience and hope
Salome Mwangi- Boise State University & Refugee Speakers Bureau
BSU Students and conference participants have an opportunity to listen to stories shared by former refugees.