This month, we feature the wonderful leadership and staff of Finders Keepers for their dedication to serving the refugee community in so many ways. Bonnie Kallenberg, who is our thought leader this month, has been a fearless advocate for refugees since she first became aware of the local refugee community years ago.
Having served on our board (then as RRISA) for many years, Bonnie has continued to invest her time, support and passion for service in our mission to help refugees and Georgia thrive. The Finders Keepers Fashions store hosts an always-popular “bag sale” for clearance merchandise with proceeds going to support New American Pathways. They also make it easy to donate clothing for our account. Donors can simply drop off clothing for the New American Pathways’ account and we receive the proceeds if it sells. Every winter season, we even get a call from the warehouse letting us know that coats are being held for us to outfit newly arriving refugee families.
And, most recently, the staff launched a new way of giving: the annual “Bonnie Kallenberg Scholarship for Refugee Education”. For her Christmas gift in 2015, Betsy Johns, the Finders Keepers Furnishings Manager, met with New American Pathways to decide how to honor Bonnie with a legacy gift that would serve the community that Bonnie so loves. We came up with the scholarship idea and Betsy began collecting donations from the Finders Keepers staff.
At the Finders Keepers holiday staff party, New AP joined her staff to surprise her with the gift. We soon selected a refugee being served through the New American Pathways’ Vocational Counseling program to benefit from the scholarship. The inaugural scholarship went to Umida Davutakhunova in January 2016 to support her college tuition and further her dream of opening her own culinary business. Now in the Start ME: Clarkston program, Umida is that much closer to her dream.
With 2016 scholarship funds in hand, we will soon share news of the next scholarship recipient!
Thanks, Bonnie, Betsy and all the Finders Keepers staff, for all the things that you do!