Dana Doll, who has worked with refugee populations and displaced people since her high school years, has received the first Extended Grace $500 Mudita Gift. The gift was funded by a donation from Mary and Lowell VanDeRiet of Holland.
Doll’s interest in helping refugees began when her parents did refugee foster care through which she gained a Sudanese brother and two sisters. Five years later, her family expanded with the arrival of sister from Ghana. Since then, Doll has spent several years working with refugees and displaced persons in Uganda and West Michigan. Her work in Northern Uganda included helping displaced women improve their micro-businesses.
Her career includes working in refugee resettlement for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan and working on the board of an asylum-seekers’ house. She is currently laying the foundation for a non-profit business through which she will help refugee women sell sewing projects.
“I have a passion for seeing refugee women truly flourish as they put down new roots in our community,” Doll says.
Her plans for her Mudita Gift reflect that passion. “As we have seen, social media can be a place where fear and hate spread easily, especially in relation to refugees and immigrants. My goal with this project is to humanize refugees by using social media for good. My plan is to capture compelling stories and portraits of women refugees living in our communities, establish a social media campaign, spread additional word through like-minded organizations, and culminate the project on International Women’s Day on March 8.”
“We are honored to be the first sponsors and believe you found the right people and made a very good choice,” Mary VanDeRiet commented.
Members of the Extended Grace Board of Directors were unanimous in their choice of Doll-Lautenbach as the agency’s first Mudita Gift recipient. “While choosing among the applicants was a difficult task, we are thrilled to work with Dana and fund her project,” says Barbara Lee, Extended Grace Experi-Mentor and executive director.
Remaining applicants remain in the pool for future monthly $500 Mudita Gifts. Gifts are presented at Inspire! community gatherings, which are held the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. at Barber School on the corner of Exchange Street and Buchanan Street in Spring Lake.
Mudita Gifts are available to individuals who have creative ideas for improving the lives of others. Applications, which are available HERE, ask three short questions:
How would you use $500 to address a social justice or human rights issue?
How would you promote your activity?
How would you repay it?
Repayment can be through volunteering at any of the expressions of Extended Grace – Just Goods store or Inspire! monthly community gatherings, for example – sharing skills and talents, repaying the gift, or any other means of helping ensure another Mudita Gift can be granted.
Mudita is a Sanskrit word that means “I rejoice in your good fortune.”