by: Jennifer P Kramm, TeamWorks Member
“It’s a challenge opening yourself up to new people you’ve never met,” a TeamWorks participant shared in the opening session of Hands On Twin Cities (HOTC) 2011. She was right, but it was this very thing that the 17 HOTC TeamWorks participants gathered together for in order to do: open up to their peer volunteers, open up to the immigrants and refugees they will be meeting, open up to the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in order to ask the question: “How might I be in a more intimate community with you?”
The first meeting on January 6th fostered an opportunity for sharing and a sense of trust as the volunteers discussed what “understanding breeds empathy” means to them. Aiming to understand, the group will have the chance to meet friends from the Somali, Liberian, Hispanic, and Hmong immigrant communities in the upcoming 5 weeks. This TeamWorks team will focus on learning about immigrant and refugee’s experiences through service-learning which will include participating in a rice drive, welcoming a recent immigrant family at the airport, and tutoring Liberian youth. The TeamWorks community has committed to augmenting their learning experience through usage of their social media (this blog and our Facebook page) in order to record, initiate, and continue conversation about communion with our immigrant and refugee friends in the Twin Cities.