We started as a group of dedicated volunteers, each on a distinctly unique journey.
Kathryn Polk first connected with local refugees through Interfaith Refugee Ministry Wilmington (IRMW), during its early inception in 2011, as a volunteer ESL tutor and classroom teacher. After working with refugees for 5 years as a weekly volunteer teacher, Kathryn became employed with IRMW in 2015 as the Employment and Resource Developer. She employed over 87 refugees in less than a year, and managed the self-sufficiency Match Grant program with refugee clients. During her employment at IRMW, Kathryn also served as the volunteer and donations coordinator which included donor database management. Kathryn served time on the Advisory Council for IRMW in 2017, until the organization began downsizing the office, and showed signs of shutting down in the near future.
To compensate for dwindling refugee resettlement services available in Wilmington, Kathryn Polk along with a team of dedicated volunteers from the former Advisory Council (AC) at IRMW have started a new resettlement support [nonprofit] organization to assist refugees in town.
Kathryn has helped provide employment and case management services to resettling refugees from Burma, Iraq, Colombia, Ethiopia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, & Burundi. She is experienced with marketing and communications, nonprofit and community event planning, sponsorship recruitment, and fundraising.
As a full-time faculty member at UNCW, Amanda is a Spanish professor and the coordinator of Applied Learning Experiences. In this role, she manages internships, service-learning & volunteer opportunities for world language students at UNCW. Amanda has been active with refugees since she was a child, when her mother was the executive director of a non-profit literacy council that served many refugees and immigrants learning English. Her family helped dozens of resettled refugees in Central Virginia.
When IRM opened in Wilmington, she became active with refugees from Burma and Colombia, helping them find employment, navigate the US school system, and with their daily needs. Amanda also has experience interpreting for IRMW clients, as well as serving on the IRMW AC with Kathryn, Jocelyn & Julie. Amanda currently serves as the president of the Coastal Carolina United Nations (UN) Association, a non-profit that supports the mission of the United Nations. In that role, she has organized speakers, panels, film screenings, and collection drives for local refugees.
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn