The Tapestry Project
The Tapestry Project began in 2012 as an initiative to bring together refugee, immigrant and native-born populations. It was a grassroots project started by Jessica O’Brien (former MCC Associate Director), Amy Vokal (currently Director of Public Safety, Mankato) and Julie Hawker (former Lloyd Management). Tapestry was built around finding common threads of humanity among the diverse populations. The primary goal is to build relationships among members, for when this is done, bridges can be built and there is mutual trust in the community. The secondary goal is to connect members through education. When connecting through education, all members (new families and native-born) are learners. The information is presented in a way where all people can participate. It is not a chance for new families to learn and native-born people to sit back. When we learn together, we grow together.
Contact program coordinator for more information or details on how to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2012, we have facilitated a Tapestry Project: Life Skills series, leading discussions about topics of Parenting, Housing, Safety, and Health. We have also facilitated the Tapestry Entrepreneur Series which takes refugees who are interested in starting their own business through educational presentations on topics like marketing, budgeting and more and allows them to dissect and discuss the information with successful Mankato business connectors. Our newest Tapestry series titled Generation Tapestry is aimed at bringing together students and parents to talk about the cultural dissonance of raising a child in America today.
The planning for Tapestry is as important as the sessions, as community needs are identified, and programs developed. Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, we have worked with our partners to adapt the program to be effective in new ways. A diverse group of partners has gathered over time to plan and assess the need for and impact of Tapestry. These partners represent the public and private sectors and include members of the immigrant and refugee population who are employees of these partners. In the most-recent Tapestry Entrepreneur session, the Planning Team representation from the Small Business Development Center, Greater Mankato Growth, YWCA Mankato, ABE/Community Education, North Mankato and Mankato Public Safety, and local Mankato residents and faith communities.