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"I think most people in our community still don't really know the difference between refugee and immigrant," Gullickson said. "Refugees were forced to leave their home."
And that was the point.
"When you learn in this manner, it sticks with you," she said. "I'm a believer in experiential learning."
She said she hoped the experience would be a meaningful one for the board.
"I can't read it, can't understand what they're saying to you," Kaus said. "It's very emotional. Fear sets in, anxiety . I don't know how I would survive."
They couldn't fill out an application properly, struggled to understand what people were saying and generally had no idea how to operate.
President Connie Hanner praised the outing, saying it will help board members "make the connection" between the board's mission and the realities of the people in the community.
Shannon Gullickson, chair of the board, said another reason they decided to make the trip to Hindi Store was because of a request for funding they received last year. The Minnesota Council of Churches local office sought funding for the work they do in providing services to refugees. But in last year's funding cycle, there wasn't a lot of money to fund new projects, and board members were unsure about the work the group did.
Board members from the Mankato Area United Way spent a few hours Tuesday at Hindi Store on Hoffman Road run by Somali refugees getting a taste of what life is Huaraches Women Red
This is the second consecutive year the United Way board has turned its January meeting into a field trip. Last year they wanted to learn more about food security, so they fanned out to area grocers and tried to shop for a family with a limited Air Huarache High Top
But instead Nike Huarache Trainer Low of just talking to the store owners, the organizers of this exercise set up stations in the store to simulate the struggle refugees go through when trying to obtain basic needs, such as enrolling children in school or applying for housing assistance, applying for jobs, paying first month's rent, learning language skills or obtaining child care.
Gullickson said Tuesday's outing probably answered some questions.
like for refugees who come here.
how refugees feel when they come to a foreign land and try to live. Without being able to speak the language and without knowledge of customs and traditions, it can be difficult.
"I felt very isolated," said Board Member Barb Kaus. "How would I survive? It'd be very difficult."
One of the architects of the experience was Julie Hawker of Lloyd Management. In addition to her property management career, she's spent the last few years being an advocate for diversity and making it easier for refugees to become part of the community.
This year they wanted to get a better understanding for Huarache Womens Black And White
Kaus' first station simulated an attempt to find work and fill out an application written in a foreign language.
ï»¿United Way board visits Somali store
Walking in a refugees' footsteps for a while, she said, was good for the board. And when asked if the Minnesota Council of Churches' work fits the United Way's mission, Gullickson said yes.
"They were getting a little nervous. They didn't know how to respond," said Omar Liban, who works at Hindi Store. But he was happy the group was there. "They're trying, at least."
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