Local Spotlight: Heartfelt Tidbits

Transitioning to American life can be tough for immigrants. Heartfelt Tidbits offers a helping hand and support for recent immigrants to Southwestern Ohio. We talked to Sheryl Rajbhandari, the founder and executive director of Heartfelt Tidbits, to learn more about this important organization helping people.

What challenges do recent immigrants face in our area?

Immigrants arrive with expectations from what they’ve heard about America. Some will say they expected to start working after a few days and move into a home. After arriving, they realize everything is unfamiliar and it’s difficult to get their footing. It takes time to get work authorization, and they are consumed with worry about how they’ll get by until they can work. Heartfelt Tidbits assists by connecting individuals to its volunteers and programming, and surrounds them with a community.

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What programs do you have to support young immigrants?

Children, while scared, are eager to explore their new home. They engage in Heartfelt Tidbit’s enrichment programs, yoga, art, spending time with volunteers who take them to the library, zoo, parks and attending school. Learning English is their number-one priority, and these programs assist with this while they’re making friends at the same time.

Can you tell us about your makerspace programs?

Women and men who are interested are invited to attend Heartfelt Tidbits’ Makerspace sewing and art programs. This provides a great opportunity to make friends, learn a skill and practice speaking English. Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are available multiple times per week. Volunteer instructors quickly become friends with their students. As the friendship evolves, culture, food and more details are shared during the class.

Tell us about your community gardens. Where are they located and how do they help?

Our Franciscan Gardens is a partnership between Heartfelt Tidbits and the Franciscan Ministries. The gardens have assisted with building community, improving overall mental health, providing fresh food and has enabled families to teach their children a skill they learned when they were young in their home country. They often say it’s the only part of their home that they can share. They are able to grow food that is familiar and introduce other gardeners to new vegetables. Since the initial garden began, other gardens were created to help fill the demand for land.

How can people get involved with Heartfelt Tidbits?

If you’d like to learn more about Heartfelt Tidbits, visit heartfelttidbits.com. The volunteer link shares a variety of opportunities to get involved.

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