GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – One of the main challenges refugee women face when they arrive in America is achieving English proficiency. Samaritas New American Services collaborates with local churches (Fellowship Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran) to provide dedicated sewing classes that also teach English as a second language.
>>> Take a look in the video above.
The idea for the class came from a group of American women from California who were visiting Michigan to have a week-long sewing/Bible class with a local Romanian Church. These ladies were missionaries in Romania a few years ago and wanted to reconnect with the Romanian community in Michigan.
Carmen Bordea, Samaritas Supervisor for New Americans, invited these ladies to host a sewing lesson during a Samaritas ESL class. Because the class was a positive experience for the students, Samaritas decided to create its own “sewing club” integrated with ESL classes in October 2016.
Now, the classes take place on Fridays from 12:30 – 3pm, free of charge and open to the public.
In Grand Rapids, Samaritas New American Services offers the following programs:
- Reception and Placement (same as Detroit)
- Matching Grant (same as Detroit)
- Survivors of Torture (same as Detroit)
- Intensive Case Management program – unique to Grand Rapids, this program provides up to one year of case management services to refugees needing additional support to work through the trauma they’ve endured during their journey to safety and includes medical and mental health, housing, assistance to refugee seniors, and more.