Kate Schmidgall

Listen + Learn / A Bittersweet Event Series

In a serendipitous chain of events, my husband and I recently grew our little family from two (the two of us) to seven. We met a newly resettled Syrian family and with the help of Google Translate were quickly adopted. Having enjoyed (immensely) their homemade cheeses, yogurt, makdous, shisha, salads and fu’al, and learning the processes for making such things, I wondered if others might also enjoy listening and learning as we had.

Listen Learn Pilot 3

We have much to learn from ancient cultures…and from suffering.

Newly resettled refugees are in need of one thing most urgently: employment. I learned this from Keith Cooper and Providence Granola. Their model was the first I had heard of intentionally creating job opportunities for newly resettled refugees—an effort made sweeter by their seriously delicious granola, which you should buy and your school should buy and your company should buy…like, right now.

Sidenote / I remember thinking to myself way back then, “Economic empowerment for refugees—this is exactly Bittersweet. Someday I want to do a story on them.” In March 2016, we did.

Though generally educated and professionally skilled, a lack of English proficiency significantly impacts job-readiness within the American economy. Even in the best of circumstances, the time it takes to learn English far exceeds the time that rent is covered by resettlement agencies (typically two to twelve months).

And so Bittersweet is piloting a new event series, called Listen + Learn. The format is based on the idea that our Americans friends want to personally engage in refugee care and our refugee friends want to both integrate successfully and afford their upcoming rent. The Listen + Learn approach delivers educational value to attendees and dignified economic opportunity to our newly resettled friends.  

Our next event is Thursday, October 6th and will feature the teaching of a delicious recipe involving grape leaves! We are intentionally limiting attendance to ensure an intimate and interactive gathering. Please register now if you would like to attend. Hope to see you there!

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation to the evening’s refugee educators, you can do so here