Cross-Cultural Partner
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Treetops Collective

Cross-Cultural Partner

You will meet one-on-one with a woman or teenage girl new to living in the U.S. You’ll experience life together, meeting in each other’s homes or other mutual places to meet family members, attend Treetop's Creative Gatherings, share meals, practice English, and go on excursions around Grand Rapids.

As you partner in friendship with a program member (Sister), she will learn and navigate a new culture and home. Your experiences will be largely driven by your Sister’s needs and interests, as well as designated follow up activities from workshops that focus on vital topics like education, personal health, American systems, community leadership, financial management and much more. 

Cross-Cultural Partners are matched based on both of your locations, availability, and interests. You’ll have access to a Facebook group of current and past sisters to share resources, events, and best practices.

Your sister may or may not still be learning English, so patience and understanding is essential to your relationship. Above all, consistency is key as you learn from one another and grow in each of your cultural knowledge.

Show me how to get started
Commitment
One hour/week for 9+ months at times and places that work best for both of you
Requirements
21+; complete two trainings; pass a background and reference check
Neighborhood
Varies
Location
Any location that works best for both of you

Is This the Right Fit for Me?

You’re interested in building a relationship with a woman or teenager where you can be an ally in her goals. You’re each bringing your own gifts and interests to the table. Maybe you’re offering community knowledge, a particular skill, or simply helping her establish roots in a new place, but you’ll also be getting an opportunity to expand your awareness of other cultures and develop a new friendship. You’re committed to building a relationship, but you’re also flexible, as schedules could sometimes change.

About Treetops Collective

Treetops Collective is focused on creating opportunities and connections for refugee women and teen girls in West Michigan through asset-based community development and social enterprise. They are celebrating the creative gifts new neighbors bring to our community through textile, pottery and screen-printing work, as well as advocating for a more welcoming community through creation and sales of tees that say “welcome” in different languages. Additionally, they are increasing the capacity for women in the Greater Grand Rapids area to develop relationships with their newest neighbors by facilitating introductions and coordinating relationships with New Americans in intentional friendships that increase community and cultural competency. Social fabric is necessary for all of us to flourish, and they are passionate about creating a new kind of welcoming community.

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What Others are Saying

After leaving a teaching career of thirty years, I really wanted to do something with women and to make our city a better place. The relationship with my sister continues to surprise me. It has taken me out of my comfort zone and challenges me, but we have become friends. Despite the language barrier, we have been able to slowly get to know each other and share bits of our lives together. The most difficult thing is the language barrier and lack of resources for overcoming that, but, despite the difficulties, it is worth doing. I have learned so much. I look at life with a different perspective.

Mary

Contact the Organization

If you’re ready to ask some questions and get started, contact the Treetops Collective directly.

Siobhan Johnson Community Manager 616-644-6071

What to Expect

Fill out an application, and Treetops will reach out and invite you to the next general volunteer meeting. Then, you’ll attend a training specifically for Sister Circles volunteers, which includes cultural competency and trauma training. You’ll be matched with a sister based on your location, availability, and interests. The Treetops staff will introduce you two and discuss expectations and commitment to each other. It’s up to you to coordinate the subsequent meet-ups with your sister and proactively grow the relationship.