You don’t need an invitation to do the right thing

This Thanksgiving, our team wants to express our deepest thanks to everyone who volunteers, everyone who has donated, and our incredible community.

Thank you for helping us welcome and support our new neighbors. None of this would be possible without you 🧡
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Meet Barb, Diane, and Bibisadia! Barb and Diane are some of our ESL tutors, and Bibisadia is one of our ESL students. Barb wrote the story below and it allowing us to share it:

Most people don’t remember their first signature, but Bibisadia will.

Bibisadia Safi and her family came to the U.S. from Afghanistan in August 2021 and ended up in St. Louis in December 2021.

Diane, my co-teacher, and I started tutoring Bibisadia in Febuary 2022 and thought of a first step for her – to read and write her own name.

Bibisadia’s family partners were helping the family with forms and agencies, and it was very important to them that she be able to sign documents with her name – yet Bibisadia is illiterate in her own language. Since this predated Welcome Neighbor STL’s ESL program, Diane and I worked together to develop a teaching plan.
To start, we focused on teaching her the letters in her name, their sounds, other words which began with them, and how to write each letter.

We started ESL lessons in February and she was writing her name by March!

I’ve taught many students to write their names during my time as a teacher, and I can say that the best part is watching how proud the student is when they finally get it. An adult learner is no different - Bibisadia was beaming with pride. She could hardly believe she’d actually done it - that she had the capability to write her name. I’m still not sure she had grasped the English alphabet, but she placed trust in us to guide her pencil to fashion the marks that constituted her signature. She came to reproduce this model, and eventually did so without help, as well as read and recognize her own name. This was, if nothing else, establishing roots in her new life. She could finally write who she was– her first signature.

Diana and I look forward to continuing to work with Bibisadia and her family. 💜

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About our ESL Program:

We aim to meet refugees and immigrants where they are with a mix of virtual English classes and in-person tutoring at the students house.

We are looking for more ESL volunteers! Click the link in our bio for more info and to sign up!
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We have some exciting news! 🎉 Our annual Baba Noel party for our refugee families is returning!
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This is a special party for our refugee families with food, games, crafts, entertainment, and a visit from Baba Noel! Baba Noel, or "Santa" in English, will call out each child's name and give them a $20 gift card and small gift.
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In the past, this has been an incredibly special party for our refugee families. This will be our first Baba Noel party since covid!
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Can you help us make this party possible?
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We are doing a fundraiser to buy a gift card and small gift for each child. We are expecting 150 kids to come and will need to fundraise $3,200 to get a gift card and small gift for each of them. Can you help us reach our goal? Even a few dollars helps! Click the link in our bio to donate to the fundraiser - thank you!
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Our dessert packages for the holidays are here! 🎉

Each package includes Syrian baklava, Afghan semolina sweets, and Moroccan coconut sweets!

Click the link in our bio for more information and to order your holiday dessert packages!
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We're very excited about this new opportunity! Be on the look out for more information! 🕎🎄🍪 ...

Meet Zach, Shariff and Sema! Zach was one of our incredible volunteer ESL tutors and Shariff and Sema are some of our incredible ESL students!

Zach tutored Shariff and Sema from May 2022 – September 2022. During these months, Zach and the family developed a weekly tradition. On Sunday, after they finished zoom class and tutoring, Sema would make a big Afghan lunch for Zach and the whole family to share.

Zach loved seeing Shariff and Sema grow after each lesson. He said that they “were working hard for their family!” Zach continues to wish them the best as they learn English!
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About our ESL Program:

✏️ Often it is hard for parents to leave their house to attend English class. This is especially true for mothers who are usually home alone with many children. We aim to meet refugees and immigrants where they are with a mix of virtual English classes and in-person tutoring at the students house.

✏️ We are looking for more ESL volunteers! Click the link in our bio for more information and to sign up!
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Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who donated to our fundraiser to purchase a van for an Afghan family of 12! Thanks to you, we are OVER our fundraising goal - THANK YOU! 🎉

A van is going to be life changing for this family! Thank you for helping us welcome and support our new neighbors 💛

Pictured: Some of the Afghan family we will purchase the van for and Ann from @humankindstl. Ann and HumanKIND will now work on getting them a van!
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There is only ONE WEEK until our Afghan Drive-Thru lunch! 🎉

Tickets include a six-course Afghan meal delivered directly to your car and the opportunity to support our refugee neighbors while eating delicious food! Click the link in our bio to get your tickets today!
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Be on the lookout for our segment this weekend on @Fox2Now! 👀 ...

🌟 Save the Date! 🌟 Our next virtual volunteer orientation will be on Wednesday, November 9 at 7pm.

Click the link in our bio to join the zoom call!

Joining our orientation is not a commitment to be a family partner, but an opportunity to learn more about the program. We hope to see you there!
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A huge thank you to IPM! 🩹🌡👏 We have been handing these first aid kits out to our refugee families, and they are so thankful! ...

Met Sardar and his family of 12! Sardar and his family are from Afghanistan and arrived in STL when Kabul fell a year ago.

The family has been walking, biking, and getting rides to and from work, doctor appointments, and the store. This is a photo of Sardar carrying home his groceries on a bike.

A van would be life changing for this family! Can you help us raise money to purchase a van for this incredible family?

Click here the link in our bio to donate!

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How we are planning on purchasing the van:

@cfna.stl has a driving school, and after a student graduates the school and gets their license, the family gets $2,500 towards a new car. We will be using the money we fundraise, the $2,500 from CFNA, and some money in our account to purchase the car.

@humankindstl has a partnership with @johnsinclairnissan. They give HumanKIND a call when they have a reliable car, and give HumanKIND the best price possible. Last week, HumanKIND bought a reliable van for an Afghan family for $8,700, and we hope to do the same for this family!
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There is still time to get tickets to our Afghan Drive-Thru Event 😋 🇦🇫

Tickets include a six-course Afghan meal delivered directly to your car and the opportunity to support our refugee neighbors while eating delicious food! Get your tickets today at the link in our bio!
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We're working with an incredible Afghan family of 12. They arrived in STL when Kabul fell a year ago.

The family has been walking, biking, and getting rides to and from work, doctor appointments, and the store. The dad and oldest son both work.

A van would be life changing for them! Can you help us raise money to purchase a van for this family? Click the link in our bio to donate!
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Welcome Neighbor STL started by visiting refugees living in the Hodiamont apartments. Some people opened the door for us and others were more comfortable watching our interactions from afar. We welcomed all, and Hodiamont was our humble and grass roots beginning.

To hear someone was shot anywhere is disheartening, but at a place where we spent much time welcoming and helping newcomers, it hits home. We can’t imagine what Bada Ali’s family is experiencing as they navigate what they thought would be a better life, now wrought with more tragedy. They traveled from Sudan for a fresh new start, and we can only imagine their life is worse.

The press release from CAIR Missouri explains more (link in our bio).

We hope the St. Louis law enforcement will exhibit full transparency and release the officers’ body camera footage so we know what truly happened. Our hearts are broken. - WNSTL Team
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Starting tomorrow (October 18-20), 15% of all in-store and online sales at @zeebeemarket on South Grand will be donated to @stjohnstowergrove. St. John's Episcopal Church is the church that hosts our WNSTL office, and they have lowered our rent for the past 2 years for covid.

If you're looking for a local place to shop that is fair trade, handmade, and sustainable, try out Zee Bee Market (3211 S Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO, 63118) October 18-20 from 11am-6pm.

Thank you and happy shopping! 🛍
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Our in-person cooking classes are here! 🎉

We have two upcoming classes where you can learn how to prepare delicious meals with our Syrian Chef, Mawda Altayan 👩🏽‍🍳

ONE: Saturday, November 5th, 12:00pm – 2:00pm

🍲 Mawda will teach you how to make Middle Eastern OUZI Rice with vegetables & ground beef with sauce.

🍲 This delicious and classic Arab rice dish is made with aromatic spices, minced ground beef, basmati rice, pine nuts, peas, carrots, onion, and ghee.

TWO: Saturday, November 5th, 2:00pm – 4:00pm

🥙 Mawda will teach you how to make Middle Eastern Hummus and Fatayer.

🥙 Fatayer is a delicious meat pie that can alternatively be stuffed with spinach, or cheese.

Click the link in our bio for more information and to get your tickets!
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