Giving Thanks and Finding New Traditions

Last month, the Russian Community Association of MA and the rest of the New American Center extended community came together to give thanks.

On November 16, 2016, there was much joy to be had as the adult clients and staff of the New American Center celebrated Thanksgiving. The community commemorated the day with food and impromptu, zealous storytelling from a few of our staff about their own transitions to the United States, and the importance of gratitude. Natasha Soolkin, Regional Director of RCAM, spoke about her own experiences as a Russian Refugee from the former USSR. She said, "When I first came to the United States, the American festivities surrounding Thanksgiving seemed very odd. I asked myself: What is this? What is this? But as time past and I found similarities to my own culture and holidays, it felt special to be able to celebrate this holiday in my new home with my new family and friends." It was very special to be able to give and share the message that every single one of the individuals who find services or safety in our communal center are welcome and appreciated.

Youth clients and staff of the RCAM After School Program held their own celebration on November 23, 2016. Becky Jones, Program Coordinator, and Tiffany Walker, an AmeriCorps Service Member, prepared a meal, arts and crafts activities, and a showing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The students and Youth Program staff all gathered around a make-shift dinner table to eat, be cheerful, and acknowledge each other during this important time of year. Students also made cards for loved ones, and helped make our "Thankful Turkey," where each person wrote a message on a paper feather that made up the bird's tail.

All in all, there is something very humbling about sharing a meal and stories, as well as counting our blessings as we come together in a tangible act of community.

#refugee #community #Thanksgiving #youth

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