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Our Story

Sharing language, culture, and friendship.

Bismarck Global Neighbors was founded in 2015 to meet the needs of central North Dakota's growing immigrant population.

 

Available services were not equipped to meet the unique needs of foreign-born families, and many of our new neighbors were feeling left out in the cold (sometimes literally).

Today, we are proud to operate the capital city's only New American mentorship program, and offer a number of free services to support integration in our awesome state.

 

We also take great pride in connecting host North Dakotans with the international community, allowing all of us to grow our knowledge of the wider world.

What We Believe

mission

We create a welcoming, healthy community by sharing language, culture, and friendship between New Americans and the receiving community of central North Dakota.

vision

Our vision is a North Dakota where all families feel welcome, engage positively with their neighbors, and thrive.

values

Our work is guided by our belief in and commitment to:

respect

compassion

inclusiveness

and community collaboration

What we do

Nothing creates community like real neighbor-to-neighbor relationships. We pair volunteer American mentors with New American residents in 6 month partnerships. 

In these partnerships, we provide training, support, and encouragement to our mentors, who spend their time (only an hour per week!) helping their New Neighbors with the following: English, cultural mentoring, applications, homework, job searching, and getting to know the city.

We also focus on advocacy: making sure that North Dakota's immigrant families are treated fairly and with respect, and that barriers to their inclusion and success are dismantled. 

Finally, we're big into community. We host many educational and fun events that  connect both our immigrant families and the host community in an open, welcoming environment.

Our Board

Leah Hargrove

Leah Hargrove was born and raised in Lumberton, North Caroliona. She majored in International Studies and French at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She moved to North Dakota with her husband in 2012. Time spent living abroad in France and mentoring refugee families in Grand Forks made her realize the unique isolation and bewilderment immigrants face when relocating to a new country. She helped found Global Neighbors in 2015 to address the lack of services to New Americans in Bismarck-Mandan, and she now serves as executive director. Leah was chosen as the City of Bismarck's Humanitarian of the Year for 2018.

Current executive director.

Alice Musumba

A citizen of the world, Alice brings her passion for neighbors from experiences life has afforded her through her upbringing in Kenya, involvement in community health efforts in East Africa, and life in England and Texas before making Bismarck ND home since 2007. With a desire that each of use would realize our full potential and be engaged in making others be successful, too, Alice sees Global Neighbors as a great forum to make this happen!

Since 2018. Current board president.

Dan Donlin

Dan born and raised in Bismarck. He recently retired from the Bismarck Police Department after a 30-year law enforcement career devoted to Servant Leadership in our wonderful community. One of his favorite opportunities during 5 1/2 years as chief of police was to meet with New Americans at Lutheran Social Services to welcome them, on behalf of the Bismarck Police Department, to their new home and to ease any anxieties they may have regarding law enforcement and their role in our community. After God and family, his passion in life is to love, help and serve others while living a life demonstrating acceptance and tolerance for differences in our community. 

Since 2019

Donavon Hatzenbuhler

Donavon was born in Bogota, the capital city of Colombia. Shortly after his first birthday he was adopted by a couple in Mandan, North Dakota. After high school, he spent 6 months in an intensive Spanish program in Spain.  He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served in Saudi Arabia, North Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey. After an honorable discharge, he enlisted in the Army and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and Kuwait. He has also traveled to Russia, Ethiopia, China, Peru, Guatemala, Pakistan, South Korea, Vietnam, Colombia, and Thailand, is fluent in Spanish, and speaks a little Arabic and Turkish. Donavon is a dedicated volunteer with New Americans at the Adult Learning Center, Global Neighbors, and the public library.

Since 2019

Kami Kindel

Kami Kindel serves as the Vice President of Product of Development for the international Christian ministry, OneHope. She has traveled to more than 20 countries and has a deep love for the beauty of culture - especially international food. Having observed the compelling need for better services for New Americans in the Bismarck/Mandan community, she finds Global Neighbors to be a beautiful response. 

Since 2015.

Kara Sharff

Kara was raised in North Dakota. She majored in Spanish and Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota and spent time abroad in Madrid, Spain. In 2000 She studied in River Plate Bible Institute in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After receiving a Bachelor in Theology and in Education she taught biblical classes and also English to Argentinian missionaries going abroad. She has now students that live in all parts of the world. After living in Argentina for 18 years, in October 2018 she and her Argentinian husband moved to North Dakota to continue to work with the Hispanic community and with the New Americans in the Bismarck/Mandan area. 

Since 2019.

Matthew Nygard

Matthew Nygard is a North Dakota native who was born in France and raised for 12 years in Cameroon. He returned to Cameroon as an adult, where he met and married his wife, Dina. They are currently raising 3 children in Bismarck. He has served as an accountant as Bismarck State College and the Western North Dakota Synod of the ELCA. Matthew previously served as one of Global Neighbors' first mentors, partnering with a French-speaking West African family. He and his family are closely involved with the international community in central ND, and long-time supporters of Bismarck Global Neighbors.

Since 2018.

Michael Kindel

Michael is the board's resident engineer, critical-thinker, and brewer of Iraqi coffee. Originally from Watford City, he has made Bismarck his home with wife, Kami, and their two children. He spent time in Bangladesh designing prosthesis for people in poverty.

Since 2015.

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