Refugee Education Center names executive director

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Trudy Ender Courtesy Refugee Education Center

The Refugee Education Center chose its new leader.

The Kentwood-based refugee support education organization said Monday it appointed Trudy Ender as executive director, effective Sept. 8.

“We are very excited to have Trudy join our organization,” said Blerta Bushati, chair of the Refugee Education Center board of directors. “She brings a wealth of experience leading nonprofit organizations. Her passion to serve and be an advocate for our refugee community, as well as her desire to lead our team and continue to build partnerships with other organizations, will set us up to succeed in our mission.”

Ender most recently was the executive director for Susan G. Komen Michigan after leading at the Humane Society of West Michigan. She has more than eight years of experience in nonprofit leadership in Michigan.

One of her priorities will be to work with the board and leadership team to continue to expand educational and community program opportunities for local refugee families, as well as to encourage and embrace diversity in West Michigan, the organization said.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join the important work of the Refugee Education Center and serve refugee families and our community,” Ender said. “I’ll join the team as we invite, include and walk alongside refugees in their journey of transition to our culture while preserving their own.”

Founded in 2006, the Refugee Education Center supports refugees in their journey to become fully participating members of the community.

While refugee resettlement numbers have decreased nationally in 2020 due to changes in federal immigration policies, West Michigan has a large existing refugee community the Refugee Education Center serves with post-resettlement programs that are designed to help families navigate the education system and the effects of COVID-19 on day-to-day life.

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