ECE serves refugees

April is National Volunteer Month in the United States, which means plenty of folks were volunteering recently.  The staff at ECE worked hard to be included among those contributing to their communities! One way ECE tries to fulfill a part of its mission (which includes the betterment of individual's lives and society) is by allotting benefit time to staff members in order to volunteer.

Over the next few weeks, you'll learn about some of these staff members and the ways in which they have been giving back. For the first in this blog series, we'll be highlighting Martha Van Devender and how she used her service time in Utah.

Sepmeyer Award: International Education Research Foundation

Serving Refugees at Serve Refugees Sharehouse

One of my favorite things about Salt Lake City is all the types of immigrants. The city has long hosted refugee communities and the local faith attracts people from diverse backgrounds and locations. And people from everywhere love mountains! Since ECE’s mission is focused on members of these communities, I wanted to use my service time from work to support them locally.

I spent several days helping at the Serve Refugees Sharehouse, a project of Utah Refugee Connection. The organization works to foster communication and outreach between the refugees and the community at large. The sharehouse is a unique community resource, where refugees who go through training programs are given goods like toiletries, cleaning supplies, or gas cards. They get things any household can use. There are also special request drives for holidays or back-to-school events. Don’t worry; the kids are included! The donations come from all over and that is what I helped with – unloading and carrying stuff. The Sharehouse is only open for donations a few hours a week and there are often more people who want to donate than are volunteering that day. Now that pandemic restrictions are loosening and the Sharehouse is getting back to normal, I hope to share some more time with them soon.

Kids, India, Volunteers

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Martha Van Devender is a Senior Evaluator at ECE, with over 15 years at the company. She works remotely from Salt Lake City, where she enjoys wandering the local mountains and trying the diverse cuisines of her immigrant neighbors. 



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