"You are welcome here." That's the message we're sharing with New Americans in Columbus, thanks to our new partnership with Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS).
This past week, we got to ask CRIS' own Jeremy Hollon a few questions about our partnership, their mission and the affirmation stickers we created together. And we're sharing his answers below.
What is the mission of CRIS, and what is your role?
Jeremy: CRIS' mission is to help refugees and immigrants reach safety and stability, sustain self-sufficiency, and achieve successful integration into the Central Ohio community. My role at CRIS is the Associate Director of Community Partnerships in which I manage our youth mentorship programming called Community Connectors as well as work with the greater community in finding creative and engaging ways to partner with our agency.
Why is the work you do SO important?
Jeremy: For me, welcoming families and helping students not only feel like they belong, but thrive is so important. To me, it should be a basic principle that all humans be welcomed, respected and provided pathways to success. But also watching our community grow with our served communities just makes us better, in all aspects. Columbus has a tremendous new American population and you can see it represented everywhere. It has only improved and enhanced our city, our state, and our country to be welcoming.
What was it like working with your students on choosing the custom tangibles affirmations?
Jeremy: I always enjoy moments where our mentees and sometimes even mentors can express themselves in their home languages, and teach others about their languages. Our students are always so proud when they can help interpret and be involved in substantial things like the creation of the tangibles. It is amazing, to me, that we have over 20+ languages spoken in our program and students representing over 50+ countries - the literal world is in our program and we take pride in that, and pride in acknowledging we are a multilingual/ multicultural program.
Why are you excited for New American families to receive the tangibles stickers?
Jeremy: I enjoy outside the box ways to support and engage with our families, or even the greater Columbus community, and this is a very clever, positive, and easy way to show support or be supported. I know many of our mentors are excited about the idea/ concept and being able to add these to our mentees book bags with other supplies and donations can only show how many people are supporting them, even if they never see them, they know a lot of people out there care about them and their success.