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UND Student Social Work Association makes donation to help international refugees

Posted on 3/11/2013

With National Social Work Month well under way, The University of North Dakota Student Social Work Association has raised $1,400 to support the Global Friends Coalition, which works with New Americans in the Grand Forks community. The money will be used to sustain a shuttle bus service that transports these New Americans to English classes.

The shuttle usually costs about $50 a day, which the Global Friends Coalition pays for. The recent donation from the UND Student Social Work Association will help fund the shuttle through May. Funds were raised through a two-day bake sale held in the UND Education building. Some faculty and students also donated money.

The Global Friends Coalition helps new residents, mostly from Bhutan, Burundi, Iraq and Somalia get acquainted with Grand Forks and helps ease transition into the community. The Student Social Work Association chose to work with the Global Friends Coalition because their mission aligns with that of the social work profession- commitment to social justice and diversity.

Faculty and students from the Social Work department not only donate their time and services to Global Friends Coalition, but also to Northland's Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army and Saint Joseph's Care Center, among others.

Thomasine Heitkamp, Social Work Department Chair, said the volunteer efforts of the UND Student Social Work Association have certainly helped the community of Grand Forks.

"The funds the student raised are the difference in New Americans having transportation to access needed service in the community to assure their independence as they enter our community until May. The transportation services include access to language classes and employment opportunities."

Kate Menzies, UND student writer

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