Before Kristen Spargo started volunteering with Interfaith Outreach, she knew little about Somali culture. After nearly 17 years of living in Minnesota, which has the largest Somali community outside of Somalia, the self-described “extreme extrovert” knew only one person from this African country. When a new volunteer opportunity involving caring for toddlers and preschoolers arose at a Neighborhood Program site with majority Somali residents, Kristen enthusiastically signed up.
On the first Friday of the month you’ll find Kristen doing puzzles, drawing, building with blocks, or singing along with 2 to 10 Somali children. “As I’m getting ready to leave Lakeview Commons, one of the moms is always filling me a plate of samosas and pouring me a cup of tea,” said Kristen. “I love seeing these families around town, whether it’s at Urban Air, a basketball game or the grocery store.”
Kristen wants to live in a community where everyone feels welcome and appreciated. Her work at the Neighborhood Program makes her feel more connected to all of her neighbors, not just those who look like her. Thank you, Kristen. Your commitment to our community is inspiring.