Helping Works

Anna Webb, Helping Works: Boisean named World Refugee Day ‘Champion of Change’

Mrwan Sweeden, an Iraqi doctor who fled Iraq and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2008, received his award at the White House in June. Champions of Change are those who have worked to help refugees overcome considerable challenges as they resettle in new homes.

Sweeden, a participant in Global Talent Idaho, a program featured in the Idaho Statesman that helps refugees with professional skills find jobs, started a pilot program called “GTI Docs.” The program provides guidance for refugee and immigrant doctors who want to practice medicine in the U.S., explore alternative careers in their field, and more.

Sweeden is currently working as a medical interpreter in Boise, studying for his medical license, applying to graduate schools, and leading GTI Docs. He graduated from Baghdad Medical School in 2003 and practiced medicine at a hospital in Ramadi and as project manager for the Commission on Public Integrity in Iraq. After leaving Iraq, Sweeden worked as a doctor and health insurance consultant in Jordan before coming to the U.S. His first job, before connecting with Upwardly Global, a partner organization of Global Talent Idaho, was operating a hot dog cart. Upwardly Global helped him re-enter the medical field with a biotech company in San Jose. He then served as a combat medic. After finishing his service, Sweeden moved to Boise in 2013 to be closer to his family.

Women’s and Children’s Alliance seeks school supply donors

The school year may have just ended, but the staffers at the Women’s and Children’s Alliance in Boise are already looking ahead to the new year with the WCA Back to School Project.

The WCA is collecting assistance applications for students for the 2015-2016 school year. Their hope is to match kids who need help with sponsor/donors by the end of July.

The aim is to provide each child with a backpack, school supplies, new clothing and shoes for the new school year. The program will also provide school fees for activities such as art, choir, physical education, extracurricular fees and more.

If you’d like to sponsor a child or family, contact Lisa Uhlmann at Indicate if there is a specific grade or age of child you would like to sponsor. Children range from kindergarten to high school. Donors will need to deliver items to the WCA at 720 W. Washington St. in Boise by Aug. 11.

Last year, the WCA’s Back to School Project provided items for 85 children.

Author tells the story of the ‘Star of the Western Stage’

Margaret Lauterbach, Statesman garden columnist and garden community rock star, is not the only Lauterbach who writes. Her husband Charles, a professor emeritus of theater arts at Boise State, has a new book. “Jolly Della Pringle: Star of the Western Stage,” tells the story of this bigger than life figure who performed across the West and Midwest, in logging camps, military forts, and other places where culture was at a premium.

Della Pringle, who died in 1952, married and divorced five times and brushed elbows with stars of the day, including Gloria Swanson and Fatty Arbuckle, Buffalo Bill Cody and others.

In his book, Lauterbach details Della Pringle’s saga, from life as a teenaged hotel maid, to life as the owner of her own theater company — and many adventures in between. The book is available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target and WalMart. Albertsons Library at Boise State University also has a copy.

“I would like the Boise public to know more about this woman who played a major role in the cultural life of Boise in the early twentieth century,” said Lauterbach.

He will present a program about the biography at 7:30 a.m., July 14 at the Sunrise Rotary Club at the Riverside Hotel in Boise. What’s more, Lauterbach says he’s available to speak to other groups who want to know more about this celebrated figure. Contact Lauterbach at 345-8933 or email:

Look for a review of the book later this year in the Idaho Statesman.

Free veterans aid presentation

Mark Wight with Idaho Estate Planning will speak on the Veterans Administration Improved Pension program through the Veterans Benefits Administration that provides care and housing assistance for veterans, their spouses, widows and widowers.

The presentation is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at Diamond View Assisted Living Memory Care, 3570 E. Amity Road in Meridian. Call 888-7030 or 971-0214 for more information.

Quick takes:


Boise Rock School Adult Night:

The nonprofit music school hosts adult nights on the second Thursday of each month. The next is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the school, 1404 W. Idaho St. in Boise. Participants break into small “bands” and are paired with a rock school teacher. The bands perform in a minibattle of the bands at 9 p.m. Cost is $10, benefitting the school.

Email: for information or call 572-5055.


Third annual Charity Dodgeball Tournament:

Boise Parks & Recreation hosts, July 11 at Fairmont Park, 7929 Northview on the Bench. The tournament is open to players ages 16 and older. A captain’s meeting and practice begin at 8 a.m., play starts at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $100 per team with a minimum of six per roster. Champions will have the opportunity to select from these Boise Parks and Recreation beneficiaries: youth scholarships, AdVenture program for people with disabilities, or Playcamps.

To sign up, stop by Fort Boise Community Center, 700 Robbins Road or call 608-7680.


Idaho City Burn Out Bash:

Help historic Idaho City rise from the ashes after the recent fire that swept through town. The event, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, July 12, on Main Street in Idaho City, will feature a live and silent auction, food, beer, live music, farmer’s market, flea market and more.


Free ice cream!:

Denali Moose Tracks and Meadow Gold Dairy will give away 10,000 scoops of Meadow Gold Moose Tracks ice cream at The Grove Plaza, 100 S 8th St. in Boise, on Tuesday, July 14. For each scoop of ice cream served, Denali Flavors, makers of Moose Tracks, will donate $1 to The Salvation Army of Boise.

July’s adult free programs at the Ada Community Library Victory Branch 10664 W. Victory Rd. (corner of Five Mile and Victory Road) include: a book discussion with Diane at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, on West With the Night by Beryl Markham. Continuing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, DeWayne Williams will talk about On Becoming an Artist. He created Montana’s Official Centennial Book using photography as he traveled to many parts of this large diverse state. His wall display includes photographs, graphics and illustrations. He will share a slideshow and stories of some of his artistic endeavors.


Kudos to Boise Bench Lions Club:

The club recently donated $600 worth of landscaping to the Idaho State Veterans home. The new plantings will enhance the home’s gazebo area. The club has done several projects at the home, including weeding, planting gardens, building benches and serving dinner once a month in the dining hall. The club members will maintain the landscaping.