What would it feel like to walk into an apartment in a new country after days of travel—only to find it empty? In March and April, two different student groups made sure that this didn’t happen when they took up the “Design With Purpose” Challenge, collecting items and furnishing a total of 3 apartments for newly arriving refugee families in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Design With Purpose is an opportunity for groups to volunteer and set up apartments for newly arriving refugees. Refugees have escaped incredible circumstances to create a new life in Minnesota. Often, they’ve lived in a refugee camp for years, or even decades. When they step off the plane in Minnesota, not only are they exhausted from a long trip, they’re entering a completely foreign environment. Walking into a lovingly furnished apartment makes families feel like they’ve finally arrived somewhere safe.
After seeing how much love and care co-sponsorship groups put into turning an apartment or house into a true home, MCC Refugee Services starting looking for a solution to make sure even more arrivals can experience the extra care volunteer groups put into an apartment set-up. Hence was born Design With Purpose, an opportunity for groups to “compete” for most creative apartment set ups, but more importantly to significantly impact the life of a newly arriving refugee family by providing the resources and time to create a new home.
Thank you to the students from Cretin-Derham Hall High School for their hard work to set up two apartments in St. Paul! Students in Drew Mons’ economics class not only set apartments, but also worked on a budget and shopping comparison project that helped them to better learn about the situations faced by newly arriving refugee families.
Another huge thank you to Gavin Prouty, Bonner Scholar at Augsburg College, Augsburg College Campus Ministry, Bethany Lutheran Church, and all of the Augsburg College students who collaborated to set up an apartment in Minneapolis. Both groups collected donations of furniture, kitchen supplies, cleaning items, linens, hygiene items, and more in order to set up homes for newly arriving refugee families prior to their arrival in Minnesota!
You can see pictures of our winning set ups here . Interested in competing in our summer Design With Purpose Challenge? Click here to read more information or contact Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 612.230.3249.