Our workshops are described below. Many of these build on recommendations in the Welcome Dayton plan and provide opportunities for civic engagement.
1. English Language Learning Services: A Community Conversation
Acquisition of English is very important to immigrants and to the successful integration of immigrants. The Welcome Dayton Plan has acknowledged this value by facilitating a conversation with individuals and local English language acquisition service providers. This group set out to identify any language acquisition services improvements needed and to identify what actions it would take to ameliorate those needs. Following a short panel, workshop participants will be asked to participate in small group discussions about the process and products of this group’s work as well as their own experiences with teaching or learning English, and to provide their own considerations for how to support improvement in language acquisition services.
We will facilitate a panel discussion and then a series of small group discussions.
- Tom Wahlrab, Facilitator, Welcome Dayton, and former director of City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council
- Maureen O’Meara, Professor Emerita of French, University of Dayton
- Ione Rindler, Intern, City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council and researcher, Welcome Dayton
- Holly Elkins-Lopez, Education Programs & Outreach Coordinator, Project Read
- Katie Miller, Coordinator, Kettering ABLE (Adult Basic Literary Program), Office of Community Literacy Programs, Kettering City Schools
- Jacqueline Bunke, Teacher Coordinator, Huber Height English Language Program, Miami Valley Career & Technology Center offering ESL classes for refugees at St. John’s United Church of Christ
- Dennis Wolf, Coordinator, ESOL Program, St. John's United Church of Christ, Miami Valley Career & Technology Center offering ESL classes for refugees at St. John’s United Church of Christ
2. "CARE: Community Alliance for Refugee Empowerment," Service Providers Working Group
This workshop is for organizations that serve refugees in some capacity and those interested in undertaking working with refugees. This workshop will build upon and extend current initiatives to facilitate greater communication and coordination among agencies and others having direct contact with refugee populations. The goal is to expand the capacity of agencies and other organizations that serve refugees and empower refugees. This might include planning collaboration and/or support groups and/or similar initiatives for refugees. Representatives of service providers and faith-based and other organizations that serve refugees in some capacity are strongly encouraged to attend.
- Dorothy Balser, Manager, Refugee Resettlement & Mission Services, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
- Gina Stough, Director of Learning and Development, First Transit. Gina has spent over a decade working in the non-profit sector in the Dayton area to help remove barriers to services for newly arrived immigrant families
3. Facilitating refugee and immigrant economic success: microcredit, small business development & fair trade
This workshop will focus on how refugees and immigrants in general can and do contribute to economic development locally, as well as what can be done to help facilitate economic stability and progress for refugee and immigrant households. Among the possible topics are small business development, microcredit, and marketing fair-trade items, as well as establishing and maintaining economically viable enterprises.
- Migwe Kimemia, AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
- Pat Newcomb is the director of the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) in Dayton.
- Sunnie Lain, the CRS (Catholic Relief Services) Fair Trade Ambassador for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
- Lila Ivanovska, Office of Economic Development of the City of Dayton
4. Welcoming Refugees & Mentorship Programs
The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the process of mentoring individual refugees and families. Mentoring encompasses a variety of activities, including explaining “how things work” in our society. Persons and groups/organizations interested in exploring the possibility of becoming mentors should attend. Mentoring activities might include being an ESL tutor, helping with resume development, skill development/orientation being a class assistant, and providing transportation to appointments, budget tutoring and training on using the city bus.
Amy Hart, volunteer coordinator for CSS Refugee Resettlement Program.Top
5 & 6. Dialogue with Refugee Leaders
The goal of these two concurrent workshops is to share experiences and stories of refugees, their challenges and what they are accomplishing in Dayton. One of the workshops will have an arts component.
Panelists will include:
- Jacques Kahindo of Congolese Global Community and professor of political science at Wilberforce University
- Cirilo Modi, Sudanese Community of Dayton and director of Dayton African Community Center
- Dieudonne Nsabimana, President, Burundian Cultural Association
- Dr. Sam Laki (South Sudanese), Professor of Agricultural Economics at Central State University
- Pastor John Gakwaya (Rwandan) of Dayton Compassion Free Methodist Church and U.S. Coordinator of Free Methodist Refugees from Eastern and Central Africa
- Aileen La Blanc, director of the film “Take Us Home”, along with Worku Kere and his father Fekadu who were featured in the film
- Jerri Stanard, Executive Director of K12 Gallery