Introducing New Faces:

Several new staff members have joined our team at MCC Refugee Services in the last several months, so we wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a couple of them here!

Nancy Altmann: Community Engagement Specialist, Mankato office

What languages do you speak?
English and Spanish

What is your job with MCC?
Primarily, I work on the Tapestry Project in Mankato. The goal of this program is to build bridges in the community by bringing together refugees, community connectors, and stake holders for conversation. I’ll also be working with local churches to help them find ways to support refugees in our community.

What does that mean for you on a daily basis?
I prepare for each coming week of the Tapestry Project. That means a lot of coordinating, reaching out to presenters, connecting with interpreters, making sure logistics are in place, and having interpreters reach out to refugee participants to make sure they are aware of upcoming sessions.

What were you doing before you joined MCC?
I was working in full-time youth ministry, which I still do on a part time basis. I’ve also taught Spanish in the past. I’ve always had a passion for bringing cultures together. For example, I’ve been involved with my city’s sister-city relationship, which is all about bringing people together to build mutual understanding and sharing.

What do you enjoy most about your work? What are some of the challenges?
I love the connections! For example, today’s topic at Tapestry was mental health. It was so good to have a cross-cultural dialogue about what refugees experienced before and how that is different in this new world of living in Minnesota.. It was amazing to have both sides see the whole picture—it’s so beautiful and so great! It’s hard to put into words.

For me the biggest challenge is to see the challenges that refugees face and how extremely difficult it can be for some of them.

Do you have a favorite food or cuisine?
I don’t like to cook or bake so I’m grateful for whatever is in front of me!

Francesca Sifferlin: Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member

What languages do you speak?
English and some Spanish

What were you doing before you came to MCC in this role?
I actually interned with Refugee Services in the Employment Services program. My mom had seen some refugees and interns at a local farmers’ market and thought I might be interested so she mentioned it to me. It worked out really well for me! I would love to stay connected to refugee work after my AmeriCorps year is over.

What do you enjoy about your work? What are some of the biggest challenges?
Meeting and interacting with refugees in class is my favorite. They want to learn as much as they can, they have lots of questions, and I love hearing their stories. The most difficult part of my work is the unpredictable nature of the work—life happens and lots of situations arise that complicate all the planning you have done.

What are some of the activities you might do on a typical day?
I am often coordinating orientation classes, working on curriculum, doing in home orientation classes, and coordinating a lot of details!

Do you have a favorite food or cuisine?
Sushi!

 

 

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