Volunteering with Alif Institute

On Saturday I drove to the Alif Institute in Atlanta to volunteer for their annual Arab Festival, which will be held April 13-14.   The building is spacious, with rooms for lectures, concerts and multimedia events. They have classrooms for the children and adults to learn Arabic, calligraphy, music, cooking and other enriching courses.  Take a look at Alif Institute and see for yourself all it has to offer. I was warmly welcomed and quickly found the perfect niche for me  – working in the room with the art exhibition.  I can’t wait to see what the artists bring.   I’ll also be reserving any number of Arabic sweets to share with friends and family.    If by chance there happens to be other tasty tidbits I’ll have no will power at all.  So here’s to art, music, good food, fun and continuing to learn and grow. If you have a story to share of where you volunteer or how you help refugees in your area, please share it with us.

This is not an issue of the Past

iraqi_refugeesThis picture is a reminder that while many of us in the West live in brick and mortar homes, thousands of refugees currently live in tents, or out in the elements unprotected from harm.  When you see this I hope you will realize that this is not a problem of the past.  In 2011 1,934,520 refugees world wide sought asylum according to Wikipedia.  Though the problem is large you can make a difference.   One way to help is to become informed. Contact your governor's office to learn about the resettlement of refugees in your area.   You might find an entire community of refugees in your own neighborhood.  You can help by becoming a mentor or donating items for the refugees that come here.  Many are forced to leave behind all they own and start afresh. Mentors help newcomers navigate grocery stores and teach them to cook with new ingredients, use a washer and dryer or catch a city bus.  You can lend your time to teach a person new to your area about life in your city.  If you have ever mentored a refugee family, please share your experience with us.