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Kaufman Scholars Community Initiatives
In its first year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2019/2020 Kaufman Interfaith Leadership Scholars focused on addressing some of the issues that arose in our community. They served as a catalyst for positive change and community engagement. Two main areas of focus were identified: Community Mobilization and Rectifying False Narratives.
Community Mobilization Task Force
This task force worked to meet the needs of the most under resourced populations in the greater Grand Rapids area. Three main organizations were selected as partner organizations, En Vivo Church, Community Food Club and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood. Through grassroots broad based community organizing conversations these organizations expressed specific needs which aligned with the passions of this task force. The Community Mobilization task force expanded its community partnerships as needs were met and other needs were identified. They believe that small actions x lots of people = great change.
This task force collected technology for elderly isolated residents, staple food and toiletry goods as well as funds as part of their Big Change Resource Drive.
Recharge our Community - This initiative was developed by one of our scholars focused on workforce development.
Rectifying False Narratives
There are false narratives living inside us. Narratives we've been taught to believe about certain people groups, institution or ideology that causes us to exhibit prejudice against the subjects of our narratives- often without realizing it. This means that we are inadvertently contributing to the collective illness in our country and harming the diverse community that is America. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many false narratives are contributing to prejudice that stigmatize people and monger fear and xenophobia. By sharing our stories, images and videos to counteract these messages we will promote unity and rectify the disease of xenophobia.