Eight years ago, I began mentoring a local refugee family. They arrived with nothing and spoke little English. But the children were thrilled to attend school and the parents were eager to work.
Finding work proved difficult. One of my neighbors hired the father to mow lawns. Acquaintances hired the boys to clean and do odd jobs. A friend helped the teens get after school jobs at McDonald’s. We worshiped together, shared meals, watched sporting events, and celebrated birthdays. Boise welcomed them.
Today, the parents proudly hold U.S. citizenship and work full time. The children became adults who contribute in their communities, attend college, and work hard. The youngest is a senior in high school with straight A’s. He wants to be a dentist. I have no doubt he’ll do it.
This is what makes America great.
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Many cities have taken a different approach to welcoming refugees. Isolating immigrants into the margins of society means they fail to learn the language, understand local customs, build relationships, or find work. This creates a resentful population of outsiders, vulnerable to radicalization.
We are not that city. We are a Welcoming City. Thank you Boise City Council and our remarkable community.
Brooke Lewis, Boise