This summer, Julie and Madison visited some of Spirit’s Host Employers in Michigan to meet participants and supervisors and take some of the participants out for pizza.
Julie and Madison first arrived in Thompsonville and met with some of our participants from the Dominican Republic. We sat in comfortable couches in one of their common areas and talked about their program. They were very friendly and chatty and enjoyed telling us about their different experiences over the summer.
We gave them some Spirit swag, and they were very excited and grateful.
After Thompsonville, we drove to Traverse City, where we met six participants from Jamaica. Madison spoke with the participants to learn more about their experience. Then, we took the participants out for pizza down the street. Djae, one of the participants, tried mushrooms for the first time on his pizza!
The next day, Julie and Madison left for Glen Arbor to visit the housing for another Host Employer. We were met by our contact, who showed us inside their two houses. We met many participants at the first house, and they all told us how great of a summer they were having and how much they enjoyed working at their Host Employer. One participant said he was “living the dream!”
After the housing tour, we went to worksite and saw three more participants working in the kitchen. They showed us what jobs they do and even prepared a cheeseburger and fries for us!
After, we went next door to another Glen Arbor Host Employer and met seven participants. The participants were very excited to see us and wanted to take many pictures together and with Spirit. They all had miniature flags from their home countries (Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Dominican Republic, and Turkey) to take pictures with, which was fun.
Lastly, we stopped at one final Host Employer down the street to meet our three Turkish participants. These participants mentioned how they felt they were really improving their English in their positions. They also felt like they were getting a true cultural exchange because they got to live with the Americans they work with.
We took them out to lunch at a food truck across the street and learned that Alican really likes Kraft macaroni and cheese and wants to bring some home for his family to try!
Overall, it was a very successful trip. We were impressed with how happy the participants in Glen Arbor were, especially since that was our first season working with those employers. We felt that our Host Employers really care about our participants, and it was great to see such a positive relationship between them.
Our participants told us that they were improving their English and also learning other skills that they can take home with them. We had a great time meeting these participants and being a part of their summer experience!