St. Paul, Minn.—The Karen Organization of Minnesota, the first social service agency in the United States to be established by Karen refugees from Burma, will hold its Fourth Annual Gala on Thursday, October 2, 2014, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Anderson Center at Hamline University. Special thanks to the McVay Youth Partnership for co-hosting this event.
“KOM opened its doors five years ago this October. Since that time, KOM has grown from zero to 17 staff, and the number of refugees from Burma in Minnesota has tripled,” noted Executive Director Chong Bee Vang. “We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our friends and supporters who have walked alongside us during this period of tremendous growth.”
An estimated 230 guests will enjoy a social hour, silent auction, dinner, and a short program including traditional Karen music and remarks from a Karen refugee who has received support from the organization. Proceeds from the gala will help KOM respond to the needs of refugees from Burma that are not funded by other programs, such as providing transportation, translating resources, assisting families in emergencies, and helping walk-in clients with their various challenges in adjusting to their new home.
Refugees from Burma have been the largest population resettled in Minnesota over the past five years. An estimated 7,960 Karen (an ethnic minority from Burma) now live in the St. Paul area, making it the largest Karen community in the United States. The Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM) was established by Karen community leaders in 2008 to meet the needs of this rapidly growing population.
The Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM) is the first nonprofit organization in the United States established by Karen refugees from Burma. Since opening its doors in October 2009, KOM has rapidly grown from a small volunteer association to a thriving service hub aiding over 1,000 refugees each year. KOM achieves its mission to enhance the quality of life for all refugees from Burma in Minnesota by providing comprehensive, culturally appropriate services to help newly arrived refugees find housing, jobs, education, and other resources they need to succeed in their new home. KOM is also highly regarded as a partner and a cultural resource for other agencies seeking to reach this emerging population. To learn more about refugees from Burma and KOM’s work, please visit www.mnkaren.org or call us at (651)202-3120.