Denver, CO

University of Denver's alumna provides comprehensive space for refugee families through Village Institute

Stephanie Graham

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DENVER, CO — An alumna of the School of Social Work at the University of Denver, Ellie Adelman, created Village Institute that provides chances for women who are motivated and eager to succeed but lack support and stability.

With a huge passion for social justice, she stated that she always wanted to have a comprehensive space for refugee families so they can adapt to life in the United States. She believes that those women have the capacity to survive hard situations and are strong enough to live with their families in a new country.

In May 2020, the nonprofit organization welcomed the first group consisting of single mothers, coming from Eritrea, Rwanda, Sudan, and Burma. Given housing facilities, those women focus on learning through vocational training and integration toward their local communities.

Immigrant women and nonresident refugees run a multicultural care center for children called The Little Village which serves as a nursery and early education program. In the first months of operation, the children, families, and teachers at the center established a united community across nine countries and at least as many languages.

Next year, the village institute will focus on fortification and expansion. In the rise of the COVID pandemic, Adelman created the Essential Careers Pathway Program aimed at developing mental health and health care careers. The Colorado Health Foundation funded the program.

Adelman also wants to give more support to the on-site job and increase the number of registrations at The Little Village. In the meantime, the organization hopes to increase its fundraising and purchase the building it's in, which becomes a step toward the long-term vision of Adelman.

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